Saturday, April 30, 2011
Los Pampas XV were led well unfront with hooker, Agustín Creevy playing very well alongside other forwards such as Julio Farías, Leonardo Senatore and Miguel de Achával. Fariás scored the games first try as he went over in just the second minute of play. Los Pampas XV flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez was successful with his conversion attempt but following a period of more than fifteen minutes without scoring, the Cheetahs responded with a try to backrower Lappies Labuschagne which saw the scores tied following Louis Strydom´ successful conversion attempt. The Argentine´s responded four minutes latter with a penalty goal to Sánchez which put Los Pampas ahead 10-7 in the twenty-third minute. The Cheetahs hit back again as left winger Eddie Fredericks scored six minutes latter and with Strydom slottign the converion and a penalty goal five minutes latter the Cheetahs were ahead 17-10 at half-time.
The impressive young Pampas winger, Juan Imhoff had an incredible second forty minutes as the bound to be future Pumas wingers scored a hat-trick with three tries in the first 19 minutes after the interval. His first try cut the Cheetahs lead to two points and with a converted try to backrower, Miguel de Achával several minutes latter, Los Pampas XV had the lead. It looked as though the South Americans were running away with things as Juan Imhoff scored his second try in the 53rd minute of play to give Los Pampas XV nineteen unanswered points in thirteen minutes but the Cheetahs ensured it was to go down to the wire as fullback Johan Goosen scored to cut the lead in the 57th minute. Imhoff´s third try in the 59th minute made the try look like a one-off but this could not be further from the truth as Los Pampas XV´ 34-24 lead was cut down and equalized as inside centre, Morgan Newman and Strydom both scored five points each to send the game into extra time.
Both teams appeared to be feeling the pressure of extra-time with both sides making simple errors and showing fatigue and defensive problems. Los Pampas XV went close with a scrum on the Cheetahs goal line but following the decision of the video referee, play returned to the 22. The Argenitne players did not give in however, as following an attack which lasted more than twenty phases, Agustín Gosier went over to put Los Pampas XV into the semi finals. With time up on the clock, Newman came close to scoring but Los Pampas XV held firm. The Cheetahs were given three generous penalties with time up and battered away at the try line. However, replacement scrumhalf, Nicolás Bruzzone, closed out the match as he kicked the ball dead following a chip kick from the Cheetahs.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Rugby in the Americas is very much on the rise with the level of the regions leading teams improving and, just as importantly, the sport is being played increasingly by more people and in more places. One such example is the Central American country of El Salvador. The country, is yet to be an IRB member or a member of any regional rugby organization but it indeed is a new frontier for rugby. El Salvador started playing rugby matches against teams from neighbour, Guatemala in 2009. The team is known as Los Torogoces. Results have varied but the team has evidently improved on its first match which was a 85-3 loss against Guatemalan club Xela. The team defeated Xela in a latter match 17-0 to highlight the progress that the team has been through in such a short period of time.
Los Torogoces have gone on to compete in the Guatemalan Championship and have achieved impressive results which have encouraged the growth of the El Salvadoran club which now has two teams. Coaches have come from elite rugby countries including Argentina and France and the result of the international influence has clearly been positive. El Salvador has not played an official international match so far but it is just a matter of time considering the Central American region has a number of other countries new to rugby who El Salvador could gain crucial experience from facing. Examples include Panama, known as the Diablos Rojos (Red Devils), Costa Rica, Mexico and, of course, Guatemala.
Importantly the Federacion Salvadorena de Rugby (FSR) is recognized as a federation from the local Olympic committee, which means rugby is officially recognized as a sport in El Salvador. Without question, having Rugby World Cup 2023 in Argentina would be a tremendous boost for noth only South America but also the region of the Americas as a whole with El Salvador being an example of rapid progress and that rugby is spreading to become a genuine region-wide sport.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Camacho impressed during his time with the Argentina Sevens side and was selected for Los Jaguares (Argentina A) for the first time in 2007 and played matches against Namibia and South Africa A in Romania that year. In 2008 he was selected for Los Jaguares tour to Canada and played against Canada, and Scotland A, scoring a try against the Europeans. A week before the Churchill Cup, Camacho had made his officail Argentina international debut, in a match vs Uruguay on May 31, 2008. Camacho had an impressive debut, scoring two tries for Los Pumas. His next appearance was vs Chile latter in the year and Camacho again crossed the line for a try.
With a number of Pumas players missing through injury, Camacho´s big opportunity came in June 2009 as Argentina and England played two test matches, one in Mancehster, England and one in Salta, Argentina. Camacho started both matches and showed his talent, especially in the return match in Salta as Camacho scored a well worked try which proved decisive in giving Argentina the win. His performances had attracted the attention of professional clubs and English club, the Harlequins signed Camacho for his first professional contract in the 2009-2010 season. Unfortunately he missed Argentina´s international matches in november 2009 through injury anad again in June 2010. He made his return in Pumas colors in November 2010 and impressed in the match vs Italy and also played vs France in Montpellier. During the tour, Camacho stood out as a player of the future and appears certain to start on the wing at Rugby World Cup 2011.
Camacho was Harlequins´ first choice right winger for the 2010-2011 season which put him in great shape ahead of New Zealand 2011 where he is certain to be a player to watch out for. His record stands at 4 tries from 8 appearances for Los Pumas. Following the World Cup he will be continuing his professional career at a different English club, the Exeter Chiefs with whom Camacho has signed a two year deal.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
The penultimate round of the Aviva Premiership took place over the weekend and despite one round left to play, the top four places have all been taken and the semi final venues also confirmed. Top of the table side, the Leicester Tigers will host one semi final after the competitions best side defeated the relegation threatened Newcastle Falcons 24-13 in Newcastle on Friday. Newcaslt e failed to pick up a bonus point but remain ahead of bottom placed Leeds Carnegie on points difference. The Tigers had three Argentine players in the team in their victory over the Falcons with Pumas loosehead prop, Marcos Ayerza returning from suspension to start in the frontrow. Pumas winger Horacio Agulla came off the bench towards the end of the match as did the Argentine born Italian international tighthead prop, Martín Castrogiovanni. Leicester will host either Gloucester or the Northampton Saints in a semi final, depending on who finishes with less points.
Friday nights other match was a lower table clash featuring the fallen powers who won the 2006 English Premiership, the Sale Sharks. Sale hosted the Exeter Chiefs and expected a win but Exeter demonstrated again that they are not in the Aviva Premiership by chance in defeating the hosts 30-24. The result means the Chiefs cannot finish lower than their current position of ninth. Uncapped Argentine flyhalf, Ignacio Mieres started in the 10 shirt for the Chiefs and scored 10 points. Exeter host the London Wasps in their final Aviva Premiership match with the winner finishing in eighth place and the loser in ninth. Win, lose or draw on the other hand will not see Sale's position on the table change.
The London Wasps were in action on Saturday with a home clash vs Bath and were badly beaten with Bath notching up a 43-10 victory. Bath's victory was important as the team is in danger of missing out on a place in next seasons Heineken Cup. The London Wasps, on the other hand, are not too far behind to qualify for next seasons Heineken Cup. Retired Argentina international secondrower, Ignacio Fernández Lobbe played the full match fo Bath. The western England side now has two matches vs the Newcastle Falcons and will qualify for the Heineken Cup if they succeed in winning one of these matches. Two teams who will be in next seasons Heineken Cup went head to head in west London on Saturday as the London Irish Exiles played host to the Northampton Saints. The Saints victory puts London Irish too far behind to make the final four but in securing a bonus point in losing 26-20 the Exiles will be in the Heineken Cup again in 2011-2012.
Two matches also took place on Sunday with Saracens securing a home semi final after impressing with a big 35-12 victory over Gloucester in what was a second vs third Aviva Premiership match. The teams are now likely to meet again in the semi finals. Argentina born Italian international tighthead prop, Carlos Nieto started in the frontrow for Saracens and USA international fullback, Chris Wyles played outside centre. Another London side, the Harlequins, remain in contention for a place in next seasons Heineken Cup after impressing with a 38-3 victory over Leeds Carnegie on Sunday. Leeds Carnegie now appear certain to drop to the second division as the teams remaining match is against the Northampton Saints in an away fixture. USA international prop, Mike MacDonald was on the bench for Leeds and Argentina international winger Gonzalo Camacho started on the wing for the Quins. Both players are certain to play at Rugby World Cup 2011 while another Argentina player in conention, Tomás Vallejos Cinalli, played the final half hour for the Quins.
Aviva Premiership Table
1 Leicester Tigers 73
2 Saracens 72
3 Gloucester 62
4 Northampton Saints 61
5 London Irish Exiles 54
6 Bath 53
7 Harlequins 51
8 London Wasps 43
9 Exeter Chiefs 41
10 Sale Sharks 32
11 Newcastle Falcons 22
12 Leeds Carnegie 22
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Los Dogos were crowned 2011 Champions, the teams second title in three years which is further evidence of the sport in Argentina not being dominated by the country´s capital and largest city, Buenos Aires. Los Pumas have players from across Argentina with cities such as Córdoda, Rosario, Mendoza, Tucumán and Salta all certain to have players in in Los Pumas squad for New Zealand 2011. The growth of the domestic game in the country also suggests that the potential of Argentina successfully promoting a Rugby World Cup to its population is real and a work waiting to happen.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Round 25 of the French Top 14 took place on Friday and Saturday and despite it being the second to last round, only Toulouse has secured its place in the play-off´s. The remaining places will have to be decided next weekend. On the other end of the scale, the bottom two have been confirmed with Bourgion and La Rochelle dropping to France´s second division, the Pro d2 next season. The round featured players from the Americas with Argentina, the United States and Uruguay all represented. Players from Argentina played in every match to further underline the contribution of Argentina to global rugby.
The Round started with Castres scoring a close 16-13 victory at home over Biarritz in the Firday night match which continues Castres amazing run of form at home. It put Castres well up the ladder while Biarritz, despite winning a bonus point, are only just hanging on with the play-off´s just around the corner. Castres´ only try was scored by retired Uruguay international backrower and captain Rodrigo Capó Ortega following a series of pick-and-go on the Biarritz try line. The first points Biarritz scored were from Argentine international centre, Marcelo Bosch who slotted a drop goal. USA international winger, Taku Ngwenya played right wing and former Argentine international hooker, Eusebio Guiñazú, came on as a secondhalf replacement late in the match. Castres face the tough prospect of facing Perpignan at the Stade Aimé Giral in the teams final match while Biarrtiz travel to face the relegated Bourgoin.
Racing Metro continue to look like strong title contenders after scoring an impressive 51-34 victory over Agen in Paris on Saturday. The bonus point win sees Racing Metro in clear second place on 74 points and means the team is highly likely to qualify directly for the final four given its final match is against the poorly performing Stade Français. Agen´s loss won´t bother the club as it will be very happy to have secured its survival ni the Top 14 Orange next season. In Saturday´s match Former Argentine international centre, Miguel Avramovic scored a try for Agen and was joined in the starting XV by United States Eagles international winger Kevin Swiryn. Former Argentine international tighthead prop, Juan Pablo Orlandi started for Racing Metro.
Behind Racing Metro lie last seasons Top 14 Orange champions, Clermont in third place. Clermont scored a comfortable 34-10 victory over La Rochelle which means La Rochelle cannot finish higher than thirteenth place and are thus relegated to the second division. The Argentine international frontrow pairing of hooker Mario Ledesma and tighthead prop Martín Scelzo started in the frontrow for Clermont and Scelzo impressed as he went over for a try. Argentine born Italian international centre, Gonzalo Canale started at 12 for Clermont. The central French side will face Toulouse in their final match with everything to play for. Should Clermont lose and fail to score a bonus point the clubs position on the ladder could be significantly changed.
Résumé Clermont - La Rochelle por asm
Toulouse hosted the second division bound Bourgoin and had no problems in notching up a highly impressive 33-0 victory. The win has guaranteeed Toulouse a home semi final and thus a week off leading into the play-off´s. Both sides had Argentine players with Pumas secondrower, Patricio Albacete starting for Toulouse and hooker Alberto Vernet Basualdo coming on as a second half replacement. Uncapped Argentine centre, Matías Viazzo played at flyhalf for Bourgoin. Before dropping down to the Pro d2, Bourgoin have one final home match in the Top 14 Orange, vs Biarritz in the final round of play on May 07.
Bayonne remain in contention for a place in the play-offs after completing an impressive bonus point victory vs the lost souls of Stade Français who again put in an embarrassing performance in going down 54-20. Stade Français resemble anything other than a former elite side and Bayonne who only managed to stay in the Top 14 Orange due to Montauban´s financial irregularities are not a team tha has been strong in recent seasons. Despite being considered a mid-lower table side, Bayonne scored seven tries vs Stade Francais which would have been unthinkable at the start of the season. Stade Français did score one try, to Los Pumas backrower, Juan Leguizamón who had a reasonable match despite being yellow carded. His long time close friend and international teammate, Gonzalo Tiesi, completed a return from injury to start at centre while current Argentine fullback Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga also started. The one-time capped Argentine tighthead prop, Pedro Ledesma played the final five minutes for the Parisians. Bayonne will be looking for a similar performance in its final match, vs La Rochelle.
In a rematch of the famous match at Barcelona two weeks ago, Toulon and Perpignan went head to head, this tim in Toulon. The game started slowly only for Toulon to then dominate in the second half and run away with a bonus point 43-12 victory. Argentine international flyhalf and centre, Felipe Contepomi came on as a secondhalf replacement to set up a try for Toulon following slick hands which is subsequently converted. he also scored a try of his own and also succeeded with the conversion attempt. Pumas backrower, Juan Fernández Lobbe was rested as a precaution due to rib complications while retured Pumas secondrower Rimas Alvarez, did not feature for Perpignan. Toulon are not guaranteed of a place in the play-offs just yet as they have a mouth watering final match vs the seasons surprize packaeg, Montpellier at the Stade Yves du Manoir in Montpellier. The winner will advance to the play-offs and the loser will be eliminated.
Brive will not be relegated to the Pro d2 after the team secured a close but vital 23-21 home victory against Montpellier in the rounds final match. Montpellier have had a poor second half of the season after leading the Top 14 earlier in the competition. Nonetheless, Montpellier still could make the play-offs as the team lies a mere single point behind Biarritz in sixth position and three points behind Toulon in fifth. Brive had three Pumas in its team with Agustin Figuerola starting at scrumhalf, former international tighthead prop, Pablo Cardinalli in the frontrow and former Pumas loosehead prop, Pablo Henn was on the bench. Montpellier, for its part, also had three Argentine international players with tighthead prop, Juan Figallo scoring a try and centre Santiago Fernández starting in the midfield. Uncapped Argentine winger Martín Bustos Moyano was on the bench.
Top 14 Ladder
1 Toulouse 78
2 Racing Metro 74
3 Clermont 72
4 Castres 72
5 Toulon 70
6 Biarritz 68
7 Bayonne 67
8 Montpellier 67
9 Perpignan 63
10 Stade Francais 49
11 Agen 46
12 Brive 46
13 La Rochelle 33
14 Bourgoin 5
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Round 21 of the Magners League took place from Thursday- Saturday with a full round of action involving players from Argentina and Canada in consideration for places at this years Rugby World Cup. The first match took place in Cardiff on Thursday evening as the Cardiff Blues played host to Italian side Benetton Treviso. Cardiff needed a win to stay in contention for a place in the final four and they succeeded as the teams 29-9 victory sees the Blues sit in fourth position. Two Argentine players featured for Benetton Treviso in the form of Franco Sbaraglini and Ignacio Fernández Rouyet.
An all-Irish battle took place in Belfast on Friday evening as Ulster hosted Connacht and notched up a 27-16 victory to underline the teams impressive season as the countdown to the play-offs continues. Also on Friday, Scottish side the Glasgow Warriors hosted Welsh side the Scarlets in a highly entertinaing match at Firhill. In a match featuring plenty of tries, the Scarlets were impressive in winning the encounter 37-29. It was the final match at home for former Argentine international fullback, Bernardo Stortoni who, despite the games result, was man of the match. A player out of favor with the Pumas coaches, Federico Martín Aramburu, was on the bench for Glasgow while Canadian sensation Daniel van der Merwe started on the wing and scored two of Glasgow´s three tries. van der Merwe is one to watch out for at this years Rugby World Cup. Fellow Canadian international, Kevin Tkachuk, started for Glasgow at loosehead prop.
On Saturday, Scottish side, Edinburgh continued its impressive recent run of form with a 27-15 victory over Welsh side the Newport Gwent Dragons at Murrayfield. A player currently out of favor with the Argentina national coaches, Esteban Lozada, started in the secondrow for Edinburgh and despite being dropped from the Los Pumas squad for the November 2010 tour of Europe, he is certainly a contender for the World Cup. His performances as of late have been an improvement over the form he showed leading into the November tour.
Italian side Aironi played host to Irish province, Leinster in Viadana in another match on Saturday. The Irish fielded a team packed with stars and scored a 20-8 victory to move back into second place on the ladder while Aironi remain rooted at the bottom. The result is further evidence of the positive future of Italian rugby with players being exposed to regular high performance level matches vs Irish, Scottish and Welsh teams in the Magners League. Leinster scored two tries to one, both to key Irish international players - Sean O´Brien and Cian Healy but not enough to secure a bonus point. The Italian side featured two Argentina players in the starting XV in Gabriel Pizarro and Horacio San Martín, who played out of position at fullback. Argentine born Italian international scrumhalf, Pablo Canavosio, came on int he second half as a replacement. San Martín is a contender for a place in Los Pumas squad for New Zealand 2011.
The final match took alpce in Swanseas as the Ospreys blew a chance and went down 22-20 to tournament leaders, Munster. USA born flyhalf, Ronan O'Gara slotted a penalty with time up on the clock which saw Munster defeat the Welsh side. With only one round remaining the Ospreys chances of making the semi finals appear over, especially given the fact that the fourth placed Cardiff Blues have an extra match to play vs the Dragons following the matches cancellation due to snow earlier in the season. This would mean that Welsh Wizard, james Hook has played his final match for the Ospreys at home as he is to join up with Perpignan in France after New Zealand 2011.
Magners League Table
1 Munster 79
2 Leinster 65
3 Ulster 63
4 Cardiff Blues 60
5 Ospreys 59
6 Scarlets 57
7 Newport Gwent Dragons44
8 Edinburgh 42
9 Connacht 39
10 Benetton Treviso 34
11 Glasgow Warriors 32
12 Aironi 11
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Despite being situated in North America, Guatemala is looking to be a part of CONSUR. This follows the move of Costa Rica which is a member of CONSUR rather than the North America Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) organization. Costa Rica is officially afiliated as a CONSUR member and has already participated in the South American B Championship on three occassions. Rugby is also an official sport in the central American countries of Panama and El Salvador, both of which have international teams. El Salvador has only one rugby club which is known as Los Torogoces and competes in the Guatemalan Rugby Championship. Further North, Guatemala´s northern neighbour, Mexico, is a part of NACRA and is afiliated with the IRB. Guyana which is a South American country is part of NACRA as it happens to be a Caribbean country with very close ties to the members from the West Indies such as the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Founded in 2007, the Associación Guatemalteca de Rugby (Guatemala Rugby Associaion or AGR) began talks with CONSUR to become a member of the organization. CONSUR´s president, Ricardo Paganini responded by offereing support to the AGR to assist in the growth of rugby in Guatemala. In addition to entering CONSUR, the AGR also has plans to be a part of Guatemalan sporting organizations such as the country´sd Olympic committee and automoous sporting confederation.
With Thanks: www.rugbytime.com
Friday, April 22, 2011
Former Argentina international centre and Los Pumas coach from 2000-2007, Marcelo Loffreda, talked to Total Rugby recently about the state of rugby in Argentina, Rugby World Cup 2007, 2011 and beyond. According to Loffreda the success from France 2007 was only the beginning as the potential of Argentina is yet to be unlocked. Loffreda believes that individual skills mean nothing without team cohession and this is what he focused on in preparing for France 2007. Different players, but similar values may well be the order of the day for New Zealand 2011 and Loffreda sees Argentina making the Quarter Finals at least and if the team plays well then the Semi Finals are again realistic..
As a player Loffreda was highly successful, winning 44 test caps for Los Pumas before retiring in 1994. He took over as Los Pumas coach following Rugby World Cup 1999 when Argentina made the Quarter Finals for the first time ever. His success as coach cannot be questioned despite the side failing to make the Quarter Finals of Australia 2003. Loffreda guided Argentina to away victories over England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales as well as a draw with the British and Irish Lions and home wins over Ireland. He also came close to leading Argentina to victory vs both New Zealand and South Africa. However, he will be remembered for his contribution to Rugby World Cup 2007 with Argentina finishing third in the world - something unthinkable when he took over as coach seven years earlier.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Round 20 of the 2010-2011 Magners League took place in Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales over the past weekend and produced some surprizing results including upsets and featured a number of players from Argentina as well as Canada. Three matches took place on Friday and three on Saturday. With only two further rounds of the regular season to go round 20 could well be remembered as being defining.
An all-Wales clash took place in Newport as the Newport-Gwent Dragons hosted the Ospreys. The Dragons cannot make the final four but can certainly try to complicate things for other sides nd this is just what happened as they defeated the Ospreys 32-28. The form of a number of players in the Dragons team should be attracting the national coaching staff and names such as Brew and Toovey could well be on the list for New Zealand 2011. Latter that day Irish province Connacht hosted the Cardiff Blues and went down badly as the Welsh side notched up an impressive 26-12 victory which sees the Blues pile the pressure on the Ospreys as well as Ulster for a place in the semi finals. The other matchf from Friday saw Scottish side Edinburgh hosting bottom of the table Aironi with the home side securing a 32-15 victory which sees the Scots move to within one point of Connacht. Former Argentina international secondrower, Esteban Lozada started for Edinburgh while three Argentina players featurd for the Italians with Pablo Canavosio and Leonardo Gamboa both starting and Gabriel Pizarro coming on as a second half replacement.
An all-Irish encoutner took place in Dublin as two Heineken Cup Quarter Finalists wentr head to head with Leinster hosting and defeating Ulster 34-26 on Saturday. The result gives Leinster second spot while Ulster are now a mere single point ahead of the fourth placed Ospreys. The win will not do anything to challenge the top of the table Munster however as Munster´s dominance continues after the Irish province scored a 13-6 away victory over the Scarlets in Llanelli. The win sees Munster well in front on the ladder, sitting on 75 points with Leinster on 61. The Scarlets, who had been in the Top four for most of the season are now all but out of contention as the Welsh side is six points behind the Ospreys.
The Italian city of Treviso played host to an important match between Benetton Treviso and the Glasgow Warriors, two teams looking to avoid finishing second from bottom on the table. In a tense encounter, the Italians managed to pull off a 19-16 victory following a drop goal to South Africa´s Willem De Waal. Benetton Treviso had two Argentina players in the starting XV in the form of Gonzalo García and Ignacio Fernández Rouyet while Diego Vidal came off the bench to play the final 13 minutes. Former Argentina international centre, Federico Martín Aramburu played the full match for the Warriors and was joined by Canadian international winger Daniel van der Merwe who played left wing and Canadian international prop, Kevin Tkachuk who was on the bench. The result sees Benetton Treviso sit in eighth place and Glasgow ninth and raises questions of the state of professional rugby in Scotland.
Magners League Table
1 Munster 75
2 Leinster 61
3 Ulster 59
4 Ospreys 58
5 Cardiff Blues 56
6 Scarlets 52
7 Newport Gwent Dragons 44
8 Connacht 39
9 Edinburgh 38
10 Benetton Treviso 34
11 Glasgow 32
12 Aironi 11
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
The past weekend saw Round 20 of the English Rugby Championship, the Aviva Premiership kicking off on Friday with bottom of the table Newcastle playng host to fourth placed Northampton. Newcastle needed a win to get off the bottom of the table and thus out of the relegation zone. Northampton won the match 22-15 thanks to the teams English internationals showing their worth. Despite the loss, Newcastle scored a bonus point for losing by seven points which sees them move up one place on the ladder and thus, for the moment, be safe.
2006 championship winning side the Sale Sharks have been having a below par season and are third from bottom on the table. They played host to London Irish on Saturday and moved the fixture to the larger Reebook Stadium. London Irish needed nothing less than a bonus point win as the sit in fifth place, four points behind Northampton. They succeeded in scoring four tries in notchin up a 34-20 victory. Argentina international scrumhalf, Alfredo Lalanne did not feature for London Irish.
The match of the season took place at Welford Road in Leicester as the Tigers hosted Gloucester with a total of 82 points scored and incredibly after 80 minutes the scores were tied at 41-41. The result sees Leicester's preimiership lead cut to two points and Gloucester's advantage over Northampton decreased to one point. Argentina international winger, Horacio Agulla started for the Tigers on the wing and Argentina born Italian international prop Martín Castrogiovanni started in the frontrow. Pumas loosehead prop, Marcus Ayerza, missed the match through suspension.
Two teams fighting it out for a place in next seasons Heineken Cup faced off in an important match in western England as Bath hosted and defeated London based side the Harlequins 19-15. The result means little for the Premiership as neither side is likely to make the play-offs. Bath's win, however, seriously harms the Quins chances of playing on Europe's biggest stage next season. Argentina international winger Gonzalo Camacho started for the Harlequins and was joined in the secondhalf by uncapped Argentine backrower Tomás Vallejos Cinalli.
In Exeter on Saturday, second on the premiership ladder, Saracens scored an impressive 33-12 victory over the homeside which sees the London based side close in on Leicester. USA international fullback, Chris Wyles, scored one of Saracens' tries and was joined in the starting lineup by USA Eagles team mate Hayden Smith who started in the secondrow. Argentina born Italian international prop, Carlos Nieto started for Saracens in the frontrow. Uncapped Argentine flyhalf, Ignacio Mieres was on the bench for the Exeter Chiefs and played the final 13 minutes.
The rounds final match took place in London on Sunday with the London Wasps hosting Leeds Carnegie and rthe home side notched up an impressive 51-18 victory which has harmed Leeds Carnegie's chances of remaining in the Aviva Premiership. Former Argentina international prop Juan Gomez started for Leeds. The big win is unlikely to benefit London Wasps, however, as they are too far down the premiership ladder to make the play-offs and being in eighth place also means they are not going to play in next seasons Heineken Cup.
Aviva Premiership Table
1 Leicester Tigers 69
2 Saracens 67
3 Gloucester 58
4 Northampton Saints 57
5 London Irish 53
6 Bath 48
7 Harlequins 46
8 London Wasps 43
9 Exeter Chiefs 37
10 Sale Sharks 31
11 Newcastle Falcons 22
12 Leeds Carnegie 22
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Two teams in danger of being relegated back to to France's second division, the Pro d2, kicked off round 24 of the 2010-2011 Top 14 Orange season on Friday as they battled it out in a key encounter in La Rochelle on Saturday with Agen visiting and securing a vital 29-19 victory which virtually ensures Agen will remain in France's top flight but La Rochelle will drop. Incredibly, Agen are now less than one victory behind Stade Francais on the table. Former Argentina international centre, Miguel Avramovic, who last played for Los Pumas in 2008 played the full 80 minutes at centre for Agen and uncapped Argentina hooker, Franco Pani again started for La Rochelle.
Stade Francais hosted Clermont in the country's largest stadium, the Stade de France and despite having a considerably poor season the people of Paris responded by packing the stadium. The Paris side, however, was unable to give the fans entertainment as the poor performing former glorious side had another poor performance in losing 20-12. With the result Stade remain in 10th position and in no chance of going any higher but will need to win games to avoid being caught by Agen or possible even Brive. Clermont, in contrast, moved up to fourth place of the championship. Stade Francais's lack of quality wingers and flyhalves again seemed evident as the team lacked plenty of attackinf options and failed to score a try. A number of Argentina players featired for both teams with Pumas loosehead prop, Rodrigo Roncero, starting for Stade alongside Pumas fullback Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga and Italy's Argentine born captain, Sergio Parisse. Los Pumas backrower, Juan Leguizamón returned to action from injury to come on as a replacement. Eternal Pumas hooker, Mario Ledesma started for Clermont as did his long time frontrow partner Martín Scelzo and Argentine born Italian international centre Gonzalo Canale also featured for the winners..
Résumé Stade Français - Clermont por asm
The profile of rugby in France was just as evident in France's second largest city, Marseilles, as Toulon moved its home fixture vs tournament leaders Toulouse to the 60,000 seater Stade Velodrome - France's second largest stadium. A week after going down in a close battle vs Perpignan in Barcelona, Toulon responded by knocking over Toulouse 21-9 thanks to two tries to English international winger Paul Sackey. Both teams fielded experimental lineups to rest players following their Heineken Cup Quarter Finals the previous week. The win was not enough for Toulon to enter the play-offs zone but certainly makes the teams chances a lot better as they are now less than one win behind all teams ranked from second to sixth on the table. Argentina international flyhalf / centre Felipe Contepomi played the final 14 minutes for Toulon and Pumas scrumhalf Nicolás Vergallo completed his return from injury by putting in a good performance for Toulouse.
Biarritz continue to look like a strong contender for the championship title as the South-Western Frence side dominated Brive in notching up a highly impressive 52-26 home victory on Saturday. Brive have not been having a good season but look set to stay in the Top 14 at the expense of La Rochelle who now look certain to join Bourgoin in dropping to the Pro d2. Biarritz, in contrast, have been impressive in scoring plenty of tries and the move of Argentina international flyhalf / inside centre, Marcelo Bosch, into the 13 shirt has been a great success as Bosch scored another try for the winners. His form could very well put him in line to start ahead of Gonzalo Tiesi in the 13 shirt for Argentina at Rugby World Cup 2011. Bosch was joined by former Argentina international hooker, Eusebio Guiñazú who played the final 16 minutes for Biarritz. USA international winger, Taku Ngwenya, was impressive yet again as he scored a try for Biarritz and looks set to impress in New Zealand 2011 as mucha s he did in France 2007. Brive featured two Pumas players with former international prop Pablo Cardinali and current international scrumhalf Agustín Figuerola both starting.
Montpellier's chances of making the Top 14 play-off's for the first time in the clubs history were dented on Saturday as Bayonne scored an upset 22-17 win. Despite losing, Montpellier nonetheless remain in sixth place but cannot afford any further loses. Uncapped Argentine fullback / winger Martín Bustos Moyano kicked four penalties for Montpellier but it was not enough to secure victory. He was joined by the returning Argentina international prop, Juan Figallo and Pumas inside centre / flyhalf Santiago Fernández in the starting XV. Both sides need to win their remaining fixtures if they are to make the play-off's and also to secure a place in next seasons Heineken Cup.
Bottom of the table and the already relegated Bourgoin lost again at home, this time to Castres who secured a bonus point victory which has seen them pile the pressure on the top sides in the competition as the countdown to the play-offs continues. The 33-22 victory featured retired Uruguayan international backrower and captain, Rodrigo Capo Ortega who was on the ben ch for Castres. Uncapped Argentine centre Matias Viazzo came off the bench for Bourgoin and slotted a conversion. Such is the strength of Argentine players in France that Viazzo will not be considered for the Los Pumas squad for New Zealand 2011.
Similar to Toulon, Perpignan needed a victory over a top ranked side and they succeeded in making this happen as Perpignan defeated Paris side Racing Metro 23-16 at home on Saturday. Retired Argentina secondrower Rimas Alvarez started for Perpignan and played the full 80 minutes. While two players in contention for a place in Los Pumas squad for New Zealand 2011 played for Racing Metro with Alvaro Galindo starting in the backrow and prop Juan Pablo Orlandi coming on as a replacement in the 38th minute. Perpignan remain outside of the top 6 but if results go their way they will make the play-offs. Racing Metro are now tied for second place with Castres.
Résumé du match USAP vs Racing Métro 92 - avril... por USAP_Communication
Top 14 Table
1 Toulouse 73
2 Racing Metro 68
3 Castres 68
4 Clermont 67
5 Biarritz 67
6 Montpellier 66
7 Toulon 65
8 Perpignan 63
9 Bayonne 62
10 Stade Francais 49
11 Agen 46
12 Brive 42
13 La Rochelle 33
14 Bourgoin 5
Tucumán vs Buenos Aires
Monday, April 18, 2011
The Argentine side Los Pampas XV completed a clean-sweep of eight victories on Friday en route to finishing top of the table in the Southern Zone of South Africa´s Vodacom Cup. The sides 52-10 win in the Namibian capital of Windoek underlines the success of the PladAR program and the strength of Argentina rugby. Los Pumas XV will now take on the Free State Cheetahs in a Quarter Final in two weeks time. The match was Los Pampas XV first match at the Hage Geingog Stadium and the teams first outside of South Africa. The Namibian side was packed with international players who will feature at Rugby World Cup 2011 and included many of the country´s best rugby players such as Johannes Redelinghuys, Tinus du Plessis, Heini Bock and Chrysander Botha.
The South Americans began strong with a try in the eighth minute of play to Tucumán secondrower Julio Farias Cabello. The Weltwitschias hit back with a penalty to fullback Chrysander Botha but this would be the only first half points for the Namibian team. Los Pampas XV managed two score two further first half tries with loosehead prop Mauricio Guidone and scrumhalf Martín Landajo touching down and flyhalf Santiago González Iglesias succeeding in one conversion to make it 17-3 at half time. The impressive winger, Juan Imhoff continued his fine form as he scored a try in the firt minute of the second half which Santiago González Iglesias converted. Pumas international backrower Genaro Fessia went over 10 minutes latter as the Argentine side were in firm control of the match. The Weltwitschias, however, fought on and responded with a try to flyhalf Theuns Kotze which Chrysander Botha converted. Los Pampas XV were showed superior resistance in the final quarter of the match as replacement scrumhalf Nicolás Bruzzone and Pumas backrowers Miguel De Achaval and Genaro Fessia all went over to give Los Pampas XV an impressive 42 point victory.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The number of United States players in England continues to rise with the announcement that 26 year old USA international Samu Manoa has signed to play in the Aviva Premiership for the Northampton Saints in the 2011-2012 season. Manoa, whose family is from Tonga was born in Concord, California and carries his familes blood line in his massive 6 foot 6 inches and 122KG body. Capable of playing in the secondrow or backrow, Manoa is certain to feature for the USA Eagles at Rugby World Cup 2011 and looms as a great purchase for the Northampton Saints.
Manoa has been around the USA Eagles scene for the past couple of seasons but given the teams strength in the second and backrows, he had to wait until November 2010 to make his test debut which was vs Georgia in Tblissi. He has featured for the USA in a number of non-international fixtures including the Americas Rugby Championship as well as matches vs Aviva Premiership Club Saracens, Tonga A and Scotland A. He will be joining Northampton on his first professional contract from his home state of California comes from Concord, California, and plays for San Francisco Golden Gate RFC, winning the National Super League Championships.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Top 10 list
1. Gonzalo Longo vs Scotland, Rugby World Cup 2007
2. Ignacio Corleto vs France, Rugby World Cup 2007
3. Federico Todechini vs England, 2006
4. Diego Albanese vs Ireland, Rugby World Cup 1999
5. Fabián Turnes vs France, 1985
6. Petersen vs Australia, 1983
7. Hugo Porta vs South Africa, 1982
8. Campo vs England, 1978
9. Gaweloose vs Wales, 1976
10. Pascual vs South Africa, 1965
Enjoy the video!
With Thanks: Leyendas del Rugby
Friday, April 15, 2011
English club the Harlequins have resigned Argentine flyhalf Benjamin Maria Urdapilleta for a further season after the former CUBA flyhalf arrived at teh club this season on a one year deal. His contract extention will see him stay at the London club with Pumas first choice right winger, Gonzalo Camacho and uncapped Argentine secondrower Tomás Vallejos. Camacho is a certainly for Rugby World Cup 2011 while Vallejos stands a good chance of being included after he took part in the recent Pumas training camp in Paris while capped internationals such as Esteban Lozada did not. Urdapilleta did not feature because of Argentina´s extensive resources in the side backs. He, nonetheless, has made one international appearance for Argentina as a replacement vs South Africa in 2008 and despite not securing a lot of game time for the Quins, has been improving while in England.
Capable of playing flyhalf or inside centre, Urdapilleta is likely to get much more game time next season and with Argentina entering the expanded Tri-Nations the young flyhalf will have a great oportunity to impress national selectors. They should indeed be keenon following his career at Harlequins as he is aged ten years younger than Felipe Contepomi who at 34 will captain Los Pumas in New Zealand 2011. Urdapilleta looms as a potential replacement alongside the French based duo of Marcelo Bosch and Santiago Fernández with Juan Martín Hernández playing at flyhalf.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Buenos Aires saved their best performance for last in crushing Santa Fe 83-16 to go ahead of Rosario and claim the final Semi Finals place. The win is a reminder of the potential of Buenos Aires and sets up a mouthwatering semi final vs Los Naranjas in Tucumán on Saturday. The impressive win was not enough for Buenos Aires to top the table, however, as Córdoba won 28-13 vs Rosario to stay undefeated. Both Mar del Plata and Santa Fe went through the tournament winless and face the prospect of being relegated and being replaced by either San Juan or Alto Valle who finished top of their respective zones in the second division.
April 16 Tucumán vs. Buenos Aires
April 16 Córdoba vs. Cuyo
Campeonato Argentino Table
1 Tucumán 6
2 Cuyo 4
3 Salta 2
4 Mar del Plata 0
1 Córdoba 6
2 Buenos Aires 4
3 Rosario 2
4 Santa Fe 0
Alto Valle 30-13 Sur
Austral 27-35 Chubut
Nordeste 25-15 San Juan
Santiago del Estero 39-20 Entre Ríos
1 San Juan 4
2 Stgo. del Estero 4
3 Entre Ríos 2
4 Nordeste 2
1 Alto Valle 6
2 Chubut 4
3 Sur 2
4 Austral 0
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
The Quarter Finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup took place in England and France from Thursday -Saturday and featured teams fielding generally weakened sides. Nonetheless there was quality rugby on show and players from across the globe. Like the Heineken Cup, players were on show from Argentina and the United States as the IRB region known simply as the Americas continues to be the only one to not have hosted a Rugby World Cup yet a region producing world class players. Cleary Argentina 2023 is not a dream at all - rather just waiting to be blue stamped by the powers that be. Of the eight quarter finalists five were French teams and three of the four matches took place in France. All French teams featured Argentine players.
The first Quarter Final took place in the French Atlantic port city of La Rochelle as 2010 Top 14 champions Clermont came to town. In a competitive but low scoring encounter the current French champions succeeded in advancing to the semi finals as they held firm to complete an 18-13 victory. Uncapped Argentine hooker, Franco Pani featured for La Rochelle and had a good game for the hosts. The man from Tucuman left the field in the final minutes of play to be replaced. Argentine tighthead prop Martín Scelzo started for Clermont and played until being substituted in the 69th minute. His international frontrow partner, Mario Ledesma was rested as was Argentine born Italian international centre Gonzalo Canale.
The terrible Top 14 season of Stade Français can be forgotten for the time being as the Paris club enjoyed a home Quarter Final victory on Friday evening vs the highflying Montpellier. Stade Français snuck home in a thrilling encounter to win the match 32-28 and advance to the semi finals. Both teams fielded weakend sides with Montpellier opting to rest its Argentine players and Stade Français only starting loosehead prop Rodrigo Roncero. Pumas fullback Martín Rodriguez Gurruchaga was selected on the bench and came on as a secondhalf replacement while former Pumas prop Pedro Ledesma was on the bench but did not play for the Parisians. The result means that Stade Français will host Clermont in the first semi final on Friday April 29 which will be played at Paris´s Stade Charlety.
The third Amlin Challenge Cup Semi Final was also played on Friday with eastern London side the Harlequins playing host to western London side the London Wasps. The Quins have been puttting together good results in the Aviva Premiership while the London Wasos have been falling dow the ladder. Friday´s Semi Final continued this pattern as the Quins were too strong in winning the match 32-22. The victory included Argentina international winger Gonzalo Camacho who played the full 80 minutes and uncapped secondrower Tomás Vallejos Cinalli who came on as a replacement in the second half. Vallejos Cinalli recently trained in the Los Pumas squad in Paris which was his first time together with the national team. The opportunity of playing in a Semi Final will do wonders to his chances of making the cut for Rugby World Cup 2011.
The Harlequins will play Munster in the second semi final after the Irish province defeated French side Brive 42-37 in Brive on Saturday. USA born Irish international flyhalf Ronan O´Gara kicked 17 points for Munster and contributed in a big way to Munster´s victory as they led 42-23 with eleven minutes remaining. Brive fought back but left it too late. Argentine international scrumhalf Agustín Figuerola continued his fine form for Brive as he continues to look like a brialliant player in the making. He was joined in the second half by former Argentine international prop Pablo Cardinali. With the win Munster will have a great chance of advancing to the final as they will host Harlequins in the rugby mad Irish city of Limerick at the fortified Thomond Park.
Amlin Challenge Cup Semi Finals
Friday April 29 Stade Français v Clermont Auvergne, Stade Charlety, Paris
Saturday April 30 Munster v Harlequins, Thomond Park, Limerick
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The success story of Los Pampas XV in the 2011 Vodacom Cup in South Africa continued on Saturday as the Argentina team impressed with a 57-15 victory over the Valke Falcons at the Fanie du Toit Sport Grounds in Potchefstroom. The result continues to underline the utter success of the PladAR system in Argentina which has given the country´s leading emerging players semi professional contracts and an elite fitness regime to close the gap from domestic club rugby to international level. It is an important phase for the future of Argentina rugby as the sport continues to boom throughout the country. In France 2007 26 of Argentina´s 30 players were from Argentina. The majority of the players in Los Pampas XV, however are not from Buenos Aires. This change marks an important turning point in Argentina as it is, without question, unlocking a larger player base and ensuring a bright future for the sport in the country.
The win sees Los Pampas XV remain undefeated this season and the team continues to lead the Southern Zone of the Vodacom Cup. With a Quarter Final already secured, coach Daniel Hourcarde opted to make changes and rotate his squad. This saw Belisario Agulla, the younger brother of Argentina international and Leicester Tigers wing Horacio Agulla make his debut after returning from injury. Belisario Agulla had a dream debut as he scored a second half try but the star was outside centre Joaquín Tuculet who scored four tries, two in each half. The Argentine team showed its authority from early on in the match as secondrower Benjamín Macome score the games first try in the thirteenth minute. Valke responded with a penalty to winger Kyle Hendricks in the twentieth minute but Los Pampas XV hit back straight away with two tries in as many minutes as Tuculet scored his first and winger Román Miralles also went over to touch down. A 26th minute try to Valke tighthead prop Nico Engelbrecht kept the game alive but Tuculet´s 36th minute try put the Argentine team 26-10 ahead at the interval. A number of players who may feature at Rugby World Cup 2011 impressed in the first half such as the backrow duo of Tomás Leonardi and Leonardo Senatore. Importantly, Los Pumas coach Santiago Phelan was at the ground for the match.
If the first half was good, the second was better for Los Pampas XV as they more than doubled their score and did so while only conceeding five points. Tuculet scored his third try in the 47th minute as the South Americans extended their lead to more than 20 points. The Vakle Falcons were certainly not going to go easy on Los Pampas however and they responded with a try to replacement Willie Odendaal. Tomás Leonardi picked up a loose pass to set up Belisario Agulla shortly thereafter as Los Pampas XV held no remorse in putting in a true 80 minute performance. It was followed by three tries in the final 11 minutes of playr with Tuculet scoring his fourth in the 69th minute and both replacement flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez and fullback Ramiro Moyano also putting their names on the score sheet. Moyano´s try was the best of the match as Los Pampas XV ran the ball out frmo their own goal line.
Vodacom Cup Table
1 Golden Lions 26
2 Griquas 22
3 Pumas 18
4 Blue Bulls 16
5 Leopards 11
6 Valke Falcons 10
7 Griffons 10
8 Welwitschias 5
1 Pampas XV 32
2 Western Province 29
3 Sharks XV 26
4 Free State 22
5 Boland Kavaliers 16
6 Eastern Province 16
7 SWD Eagles 13
8 Border 7
Monday, April 11, 2011
The Heineken Cup Quarter Finals dished up a massive reminder of the potential of rugby to be truely global. The four matches played on Saturday and Sunday featured teams from England, France and Ireland but featured international players from many other countries. Players who have represented powerful rugby countries including Argentina, Australia, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland and South Africa were all on show as were World Cup participants Georgia, Japan, Tonga and the United States. But there were also international players from countries with no World Cup experiences including Cameroon, the Cook Islands and Norway. Moreover two matches were played in Spain. It was a case in point of the growth of rugby and indeed underlined the need for Rugby World Cup tournaments to be taken to new frontiers with the overwhelming obvious location for 2023 being Argentina given the country´s history, rugby abilities and location.
The first Quarter Final took place in Barcelona in what was the first ever Heineken Cup match to be played in the city. As hosts of the match, Perpignan opted to move the clash across the border to make use of the estadio Olímpico de Barcelona which at 50,000 is three times the size of Perpignan´s home ground. Visitors Toulon fielded a team featuring Argentina backrower Juan Fernández Lobbe who played in the 6 shirt and captain Felipe Contepomi came off the bench in the second half to play inside centre. Perpignan scored fewer tries but Jerome Porical had a good day with the boot as USAP were able to have the better of play in the match as they win the match 29-25. Retired Pumas secondrower Rimas Alvarez Kaireles was a second half replacement for Perpignan. Alcarez is looking to end his decade long run with the club on a high as Perpignan try to win their first ever Heineken Cup title.
Dublin´s Aviva Stadium was the venue for the second Quarter Final between Irish giants Leinster and two time defending English Premiership champions the Leicester Tigers. In a low scoring match which saw the Irish province lead 9-3 at the interval, the hosts looked comfortable and led throughout with the Tigers only able to start a come back in the final ten minutes of play. The star was Irish international flyhalf who slotted 12 points and linked with Fiji international Isa Nacewa for Leinster´s only try. The Leicester Tigers also only scored one try with replacement hooker Rob Hawkins scoring far too late to have an effect on the result. Leinster´s 17-10 victory ensures that Dublin will host the first Heineken Cup Semi final on Saturday March 30. Argentina international winger Horacio Agulla featured for Leicester and had a solid match on the right wing. Curiously English comentator Miles Harrison was overwhlemed whn Agulla was tackled and lost his shorts. He was joined in the second half by Argentina born Italian international tighthead prop, Martín Castrogiovanni. Pumas loosehad prop, Marcos Ayerza missed the game through suspension.
The elimination of Leicester does not mean disaster for English rugby, however, as the Northampton Saints ensured there would be one English side in the final four as the Saints defeated Irish province Ulster 23-13 at Milton Keynes in Sunday´s first Quarter Final. Ulster were 13-10 ahead at half time but were unable to score at all in the second half as the Saints had the better of play with the clubs England internationals puttting on solid performances. The result means Northampton have secured a home semi final, to be played on Sunday May 01 vs Perpignan.
The final Quarter Final, like the first was played in Spain as Biarritz moved their home match across the mountains into the Spanish city of San Sebastien to once again host a high profile encounter at the Estadio Anoeta. Visitors Toulouse started the match with a roar as they scored two first half tries to lead the match 17-0 at the interval. Amazingly, however, Biarritz turned the match around entirely in the second half as scrumhalf Dimitri Yachvilli was able to plug away at the lead thorugh his reliable goalkicking. he ahd narrowed the lead to 17-12 in the 68th minute as Biarritz attacked non-stop and the team looked like scoring a try minutes frmo full time but lost the ball in a scrum which enabled Toulouse to clear their lines and look like bringing the match to a close. A clearing kick from former French international flyhalf, David Skrela was, however, charged down by Fiji´s Ilikena Bolakoro who went over for a try with only one minute left on the clock. Yachvilli´s conversion attempt drifted wide but it was enough to tie the scores at 17-17 and go into overtime. Skrela slotted a penalty in the first 10 minute period of over time and Yachvilli responded with 3 minutes left in the second period. He went from hero to zero however as former French international backrower Yannick Nyanga charged down his kick to cross for a try to end an amazing match and set up a mouth watering Quarter Final in Dublin between Leinster and Toulouse. Argentina international secondrower Patricio Albacete had a busy game for Toulouse as did Argentina international centre Marcelo Bosch for Biarritz. Former Argentine international hooker Eusebio Guiñazú made an appearnce in overtime for Biarritz and USA international winger Taku Ngwenya played right wing for the Basques.
Heineken Cup Semi Final Schedule
Leinster vs Toulouse, Dublin Saturday Abril 30
Northampton vs Perpignan, (France), Milton Keynes, Sunday Abril 01