Monday, July 16, 2012

Scotland vs Uruguay, Rugby World Cup 1999

Uruguay´ debut appearance at a Rugby World Cup took place in 1999 with Los Teros playing in the first game of Pool A in taking on Spain at Galashels, Scotland and winning 27-15. The South Americans   had qualified for the tournament after coming through the South American zone with wins over Chile and Paraguay and eventually entering repercharge where Uruguay defeateed the European and African qualifying sides in Portugal and Morocco to book a place in Wales 1999. Uruguay, however did not play at all in Wales and, instead, played all three of its matches in Scotland. A week after facing Spain, Uruguay was taking on the sub-hosts, Scotland at Murrayfield. Scotland had few problems in defeating Uruguay and did so by a scoreline of 43-12 but Uruguay did well as a debutant. No other debutant team at the tournament won a match.

Such was the lack of venues in the host nation of Wales that Rugby World Cup 1999 was actually played in five nations with England, France, Ireland and Scotland all joining Wales in hosting matches. It took plenty of gloss away from the tournament and such a World Cup is highly unlikely to repeat itself. Should Argentina host Rugby World Cup 2023 it would not need to utilize stadiums in neighbouring countries. This year alone, Argentina is utilizing six different cities to host its six home matches. In contrast, Wales is hosting all of its home matches at one venue, the Millenium Stadium. While it is a rugby specific venue and is very sizeable it means home matches cannot be played elsewhere.

In hosting Uruguay, Scotland failed to attract a sizeable crowd. People were not able to get behind the event in a comparable way to if the tournament were hosted by one nation. Scotland even hosted a Quarter Final as did both France and Ireland while both Semi Finals were played in England. Such was the backward organization of the authorities at the time that they believed a successful World Cup in Europe meant distributing the matches to the different Five Nations unions rather than distributing the matches within one of them. France 2007 was a huge success because it utilized 10 venues in France. Curiously the two matches in Scotland and three in Wales were the weak points of the tournament. 

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