Friday, February 11, 2011

Argentina 21-21 New Zealand - 1985

Two years before the first ever Rugby World Cup, Argentina hosted New Zealand for a two test tour with both matches being played at Ferrocaril Oeste in Buenos Aires. The All Blacks won the first test 33-20 but Los Pumas responded to come back from an 18-9 halftime deficit to draw the match 21-21 in front of 30,000 fans. Legendary Pumas flyhalf, Hugo Porta scored all of Argentina´s points and underlined himself as one of the best players of his generation. To this day he continues to be considered one of the best flyhalves of all time.

The match is a testiment to how far rugby in Argentina has come with the UAR now capable of hosting matches throughout the country. The former home of Pumas test matches, Ferrocaril Oeste, has known as the Cathedral of Argentine rugby and even suggested as being the Twickenham of Buenos Aires. Today the venue is not large enough to be used as a home venue for Pumas matches as larger venues in Buenos Aires such as Velez Sarsfeld and the River Plate Stadium are much larger and have attracted fullhouses for international matches.

During the twenty-five years thats have taken place since the time of this match, in 1985, the sport has boomed in playing numbers and spectator interest and truely is a prime candidate to host a Rugby World Cup. Games are no longer restricted to Buenos Aires and with Argentina set to enter an expanded Tri Nations in 2012 crowds can only grow as the matches will be tournament fixtures not friendlies.

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