Friday, August 6, 2010

Bahia Blanca - Estadio Roberto Natalio Carminatti

Located in Buenos Aires province, the city of Bahía Blanca is capable of acting as a host city for Rugby World Cup matches. Despite not being one of Argentina's ten largest cities, Bahía Blanca is an option worth serious consideration due to its attractions, size and location. The greater city area, known as Gran Bahía Blanca, has a population of 304,000 making it larger than nine of the thirteen cities used to host matched during Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand. It also has a larger capacity than a number of venues which featured in the tournament as it does venues included for Rugby World Cup 2015 in England.

The city is located 575KM south of Buenos Aires and 580KM north of Puerto Madryn placing it perfectly in between both. It is also on the main route between the two cities and is located 420KM west of a city certain to host matches - Mar del Plata. The three cities of Bahia Blanca, Mar del Plata and Puerto Madryn provide Argentina with the opportunity to showcase what the southern half of the country has to offer. This is, afterall, the philosophy of hosting a Rugby World Cup - spreading matches around the country as much as possible.

The largest stadium in Bahía Blanca, the Estadio Roberto Natalio Carminatti, also known as the Estadio Aurinegro was constructed in 1942 and has a seating capacity at present of 20,000. It is the home of Argentine soccer Premier Division side, Olimpio. At present it is of a similar size to a number of venues that will be used in New Zealand 2011, making it a realistic option to be explored should Rugby World Cup 2023 be hosted in Argentina.

It could act in a similar capacity to Invercargill which is to host two matches at Rugby World Cup 2011. Teams playing at Bahía Blanca could have their schedules easily organized so that they arrive from their previous match at Buenos Aires, La Plata, Mar del Plata or Puerto Madryn. Similarily, they could play their following fixture at one of these venues.

Although, test rugby has never been played in Bahía Blanca, the city is the home of the Unión de Rugby del Sur (URS), or the Southern Rugby Union in English. The city has also contributed to rugby at the highest level. It has produced international rugby players including Glasgow Warriors fullback, Bernardo Stortoni who made his last appearance for Los Pumas in 2008.

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