Monday, November 14, 2011
Uruguay too good for Portugal in Lisbon
Neither team was at absolute full strength as both were missing some players to club duty such as Rodrigo Capó Ortega (Castres) and Julien Bardy (Clermont). There were to be no excuses, however, as all players on the field had an important test match with IRB World Rankings on the line. Matías Arocena was a key performer for Los Teros as he kicked two first half penalties to match the home side as the scores were locked at 6-6 midway through the match. Uruguay´s dominance at scrumtime proved to be the major difference between the two sides and when backrower, Juan Diego Ormaechea went over for a secondhalf try the South Americans all but had the game in the bag. Arocena also had an impressive secondhalf as he converted Ormaechea´s try in addition to slotting a dropgoal. All of Portugal´s points game through the boot with Carl Murray kicking three penalties for os Lobos. The significance of the win cannot be overlooked as it puts Uruguay back into the official World´s Top twenty as Los Teros rise three places to 19th in the IRB World Rankings ahead of both Namibia and Russia.
Uruguay´s impressive win over Portugal is another reminder of the error that the IRB has made in distributing teams for Rugby World Cup qualification. While Uruguay and Portigal have to face second tier opposition including the likes of Georgia, Romania, Russia and the USA, Namibia have qualified for the previous four events after only having faced third tier African opposition. Perhaps Uruguay´s victory in Lisbon can influence the qualification path for Rugby World Cup 2015 which will be hosted by England. The match also underlines the need for such matches to be played with far greater regularity. The same can be said of games between Uruguay and Spain. Uruguay´s tour continues with a match vs Spain in Madrid on Saturday. The sides have met on six occassiosn throughout history with both sides have won three times each. The last time they met was in 2007 with Spain winning 18-10 in Montevideo. Should Los Teros be able to defeat Spain then Uruguay may be able to rise even higher in the IRB World Rankings, ahead of Romania.