Friday, November 12, 2010

Uruguay vs Romania Rugby World Cup 2011 Qualifier - Preview

The final phase of Rugby World Cup Qualification will take place tommorrow in the capital city of two Uruguay, Montevideo as the two time Rugby World Cup participants attempt to make it three. Everything is on the line. There are no prizes for second place. The Rugby World Cup itself - the William Webb Ellis Cup is in Uruguay for the match. Romania having competed in every Rugby World Cup while Uruguay have previously qualified for two - the 1999 and 2003 tournaments. The top three from each Pool from France 2007 qualified automatically for New Zealand 2011 and since qualification for Rugby World Cup 2011 began in 2008 Canada, Georgia, Japan, Namibia, Russia, Samoa and the USA have all qualified. After 182 qualifying matches across Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America two teams remain.

Former Los Pumas winger and current Los Teros coach, Gonzalo Camardón has named his squad of 22 players for the showdown but is yet to confirm the starting 15.  Unfortunatley, the best Uruguayan rugby playerof all timel Rodrigo Capo Ortega has still not reached an agreement with the URU over the on going dispute betwwen the URU and the Carrasco Polo Club and will not play in the match and nor will any player from the club. His loss is massive. It is comparable to the All Blacks losing Dan Carter. The importance of the conflict cannot be underestimated. The Los Teros squad at Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia included 12 players from the club.

The match, nevertheless will go ahead with Uruguay having been preparing for the match with matches against Argentine opposition. They know very well that there can only be one result - a win for Los Teros. The match which will be played at the home of Uruguayan rugby, Estadio Charrua in Montevideo is the single most important match in the lives of the players. After missing out on Rugby World Cup 2007 in France they know that there is no second chance. The motivation is certainly there and the opportunity to not only have a rematch vs Georgia who Los Teros defeated in Australia 2003 but also to face Argentina at a Rugby World Cup is not something to be taken lightly. The winner on aggregate over the two legs will clinch the 20th and final place at New Zealand  2011 and will play agaisnt Argentina, England, Georgia and Scotland in Pool B.

Form: Romania came back from fourth place behind Georgia, Russia and Portugal to to finish third in the European Nations Cup and thus advance to the finals of European qualification to take on Ukraine who they defeated 94-10 on aggregate. This then put them in a play-offs match vs Africa 2 - Tunisia in which Romania again had no problems in defeating 56-13 in July. In June Romania hosted the IRB Nations Cup which included Los Jaguares, Italy A and Nambia. Good results vs Georgia, Germany, Portugal, Russia and Spain earlier in the year suggest that this Romanian side is a strong one and is favorite to advance to Rugby World Cup 2011.

Uruguay, in contrast progressed to the play-off to be Americas 2 behind Canada after going through the South American Championship undefeated. Los Teros lost both matches to the USA, the first by five points but lost overall by 54-28 on aggregate in November 2009. Since then Uruguay has had far fewer matches than Romania but still achieved positive results in finishing second in the 2010 South American Championship and a 44-7 victory over Kazakhstan in the Americas / Asia play-off match in July. Los Teros played in the 2010 Churchill Cup and fieled an experimental side but were not very competitive.  Heading into this match vs Romania, there is no doubt that the hosts are disadvantaged by having less rugby. It is a reflection of the IRB´s preference for Europe with countries already eliminated from Rugby World Cup Qualification including Belgium, Portugal and Spain hosting Canada and the USA. Not only is South America the only region not awarded a direct qualification place for the winner but it also receives less visiting teams for internaional rugby than all other regions.

Prediction: A though battle in the forwards with whoever can win up front to win the match. With so much on the line there is no room for errors so don´t expect to see much running rugby. Both teams will use their flyhalves for territory. Uruguay to win by 3 and go into the second match in Bucharest with essentially no advantage.

Los Teros

1 Alejo Corral
2 Carlos Arboleya (Capitán)
3 Mario Sagario
4 Matias Fonseca
5 Diego Magno
6 Mathias Braun
7 Nicolás Brignoni
8 Santiago Vilaseca
9 Manuel Martínez
10 Matías Arocena
11 Gastón Mieres
12 Juan De Freitas
13 Martín Crosa
14 Leandro Leivas
15 Ivo Dugonjic

Reserves: 16-Juan Pedro Rombys, 17-Martín Espiga, 18-Pablo Lemoine, 19-Juan Ignacio Tabárez, 20-Juan Manuel Gaminara, 21-Emiliano Caffera, 22-Nicolás Morales


15 Florin Vlaicu
14 Catalin Fercu
13 Csaba Gal
12 Ionut Dimofte
11 Madalin Lemnaru
10 Danut Dumbrava
9 Sirbu Lucian
8 Alexandru Manta
7 Ovidiu Tonita
6 Stelian Burcea
5 Valentin Ursache
4 Sorin Socol (captain)
3 Dragos Dima
2 Marius Tincu
1 Bogdan Balan

Reserves: 16 Cezar Popescu, 17 Andrei Radoi, 18 Mihai Lazar, 19 Petre Cristian, 20 Daniel Carpo, 21 Valentin Calafeteanu, 22 Iulian Dumitras

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