Sunday, November 27, 2011

Duendes are Argentina´s Club Champions

Duendes win Nacional de Clubes 2011

Argentina´s national club final was played yesterday with Rosario´s Duendes Rugby Club defeateing La Tablada of Cordoba 26-23 in the final. It was the third time in history that Duendes has been crowned the Camepeon Nacional de Clubes having previously won the title in 2004 and 2009. Both clubs have produced international players fro Los Pumas. Duendes is the club of Argentina´s World Cup 2011 winger, Juan Imhoff who now plays in France while La Tablada is the club of former Pumas winger, Francisco Leonelli. Furthermore, La Tablada´s flyhalf is former Italian international, Ramiro Pez who had seemingly wrapped up a championship victory for the Cordoba side as they led by four points with twelve minutes left to play. Four minutes latter, however, the Rosario side had taken the lead as Simón Boffelli wento over for a try which put Duendes in the lead and with the conversion La Tablada were suddenly three points behind needing a late score to change the result.

The final underlines the strength of rugby in Argentina as a sport which extends nation wide and certainly includes powerful players and teams from outside of Buenos Aires. Many of the players to have come through the county´s semi professional system with Los Pampas XV have been from outside of Buenos Aires. Conversely, in 2007 only four players in the squad who claimed Bronze in France were not from the capital. Juan Manuel Leguizamón was the only player in the side that defeated France to open the tournament who is not from Buenos Aires. The squad for 2011 had far more players from outside of Buenos Aires. Rosario, for instance, contributed Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga, Nicolás Vergallo, Manuel Carizza, Leonardo Senatore and Juan Imhoff. All of which play for big name teams in France´s Top 14. Tomas Vallejos Cinalli is also from Rosario and plays for Harlequins in England. With Duendes winning the 2011 national club final the chances of more talented players being unearthered from Rosario is all but guaranteed to continue.

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