Thursday, December 29, 2011

The UAR confirm venues for The Rugby Championship

The rumours have been confirmed by the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) that Argentina´s three home fixtures for the groundbreaking 2012 The Rugby Championship will be Mendoza, La Plata and Rosario. Argentina´s first ever home match will not take place in Buenos Aires or nearby but will be taken to the country´s fourth largest city of Mendoza which is located 1,100KM west of Argentina´s capital, Buenos Aires and 380KM east of Chile´s capital, Santiago. It will be the setting for Los Pumas vs the Springboks. Argentina´s second home match will come after playing both New Zealand and Australia in away matches with Los Pumas taking on the same two sides. The All Blacks will play at La Plata, 60KM from Buenos Aires and Australia will play at Argentina´s third largest city, Rosario which is 300KM from Buenos Aires.

Mendoza´s estadio Malvinas Argentina last hosted international rugby in 2007 with Argentina playing a June international match vs Italy and impressing with a comfortable win. Rosario´s Gigante de Arroyito most recently hosted Los Pumas in 2008 with the home side winning 21-15 vs Scotland. La Plata´s state of the art stadium has never hosted an international rugby match but the city was used for a 2010 match between Argentina A and France.
Luis Castillo, UAR President
UAR President, Luis Castillo, was quoted on the official site of Argentina rugby as saying that “We are happy for having defined the cities and stadiums in which they (Los Pumas) will play its test matches during the 2012 The Rugby Championship. It will be a record year for Argentine rugby, in which Los Pumas will play twelve games in total, of which six are in the country, against the best powers of the world. It is certainly going to be a feast for all lovers of this sport”.

It is exciting times for fans of global rugby with the confirmation that Argentina is not only going to play in The Rugby Championship but is to take its home matches to the people rather than use one city for all its home matches. It underlines the strength of Argentina as the number one option to host Rugby World Cup 2023 and supports the ideas that have been put forward by Argentina 2023 since its creation in mid 2010. The desire of having an increased number of competitive teams in global rugby depends greatly on the sport changing its outlook and with Los Pumas spreading its matches it is outdoing a number of the more traditional powers and is, consciously or not, preparing itself as a candidate to host a Rugby World Cup.

2015 hosts, England, have not hosted a test match outside of Twickenham for well over a decade. The last occassion was in 1998 when England´s World Cup qualifying matches vs Holland and Italy took place at Huddersfield. Aside from that England has hosted one match vs New Zealand at Manchester in 1997 and Argentina moved its match to the same venue in 2009. Prior to the 1997 match the last time that London´s Twickenham or Wembley did not host a home match for England was in seventy-four years earlier, in 1923 when England played Ireland at Leicester.

The Rugby Championship 2012
August 18 South Africa vs Argentina, Cape Town
August 25 Argentina vs South Africa, Mendoza
September 08 New Zealand vs Argentina, Wellington
September 15 Australia vs Argentina, Gold Coast
September 29 Argentina vs New Zealand, La Plata
October 06 Argentina vs Australia, Rosario

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