Monday, August 2, 2010

British and Irish Lions vs Argentina, 2005

Felipe Contepomi v Lions
When the British and Irish Lions scheduled a match in Cardiff vs Argentina as preperation for their 2005 tour of New Zealand, nobody gave Los Pumas a chance. The combination of the best players from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales were expected to be far too strong for the South Americans. It was an arrogant attitude but one with more justification because of when the match took place.

It took place in May, outside of the mandatory releasing period for international matches. Argentina, were thus, without a large number of international players. To complicate matters further the match took place on the same weekend as the 2004-2005 Heineken Cup Final. Who was in the Heineken Cup final? Stade Français and Toulouse - two teams with many Pumas players such as: Borges, Corleto, Hasan, Hernández, Pichot e Roncero. But, because of when the match occured most clubs, in general simply refused to release Argentine players for the match.

Argentina was without an estimated 26 players. Despite this, Los Pumas played very well and drew the match. It was a fantastic achievement and one with a telling lesson for the British and Irish Lions. It was concrete evidence that Argentina is a global rugby power.

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