Friday, October 26, 2012

Brazil v Paraguay Preview

The Webb Ellis Trophy. In Brazil for the first time
The Rugby World Cup 2015 Final may be close to three years away but for Brazil and Paraguay the World Cup Final will be played on Saturday in São Paulo. The South American nations are ranked fourth and fifth in CONSUR and their match up will confirm who is the fourth best with the winner advancing to face Chile and Uruguay in the 2013 South American Championship which will double as Rugby World Cup Qualification. The loser, in contrast will be eliminated from qualification. Brazil finished fourth in the 2012 South American Championship after losing against Argentina, Chile and Uruguay while Paraguay won the 2012 South American B Championship which doubled as a series of qualification matches for Rugby World Cup 2015. With the CONSUR B title, Paraguay went on to face the winner of the NACRA series, Bermuda. Victory in Asunción gave Paraguay the right to face Brazil in São Paulo this Saturday. A win will see Paraguay not only advance but replace Brazil as the fourth side in the 2013 CONSUR A event.
Paraguay President Federico Franco with
the national rugby team
The match is in no way a small matter. For the players it is huge as the dream, however big it may appear, of playing in a Rugby World Cup is real. The Brazilian rugby governing body, the BBRu has been promotting the match by utilizing a slogan that says o impossível já está acontecendo, or the impossible is already happening! The CBRu is in a better position now than in previous Rugby World Cup qualification years and the potential for sustained growth has the administration extremely optimistic. The players are also representing their countries with support for both larger now than at any other time in history. The profile of rugby in Brazil has boomed since 2004 with the success of Argentina and the country is also preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games which will be held in Rio de Janeiro. Paraguay is placing so much importance on the game than the country´s President, Federico Franco gave the players a sending off  like never before. He received the players on Thursday morning to meet them and wish them the best of luck. 

It is to be an important rugby occassion for both nations. It is to be Brazil´s first home international match in four years. Since hosting and defeating Trinidad and Tobago as part of the qualification series for Rugby World Cup 2011, Brazil has not hosted any test rugby. Instead it has played host to exhibition matches with the likes of Edinburgh University visiting. The lack of genuine competitiveness between CONSUR members has no doubt played a big role in this given how much better Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have been compare to Brazil. Similarly, Paraguay has been playing in CONSUR B rather than A. But with the William Webb Ellis Trophy at the stadium for the match and Brazil expecting to be well supported the match could well spell some much needed changes. 

September 05 1970 Paraguay 3-12 Brazil, Asunción
October 10 1971 Paraguay 6-12 Brazil, Montevideo
October 13 1973 Brazil 22-3 Paraguay, São Paulo
September 21 1975 Paraguay 6-19 Brazil, Asunción
October 27 1977 Paraguay 25-13 Brazil, Concepción
October 12 1979 Paraguay 6-16 Brazil, Santiago
May 23 1981 Paraguay 35-3 Brazil, Montevideo
October 10 1989 Paraguay 11-40 Brazil, Montevideo
September 07 1991 Brazil 0-34 Paraguay, São Paulo
October 10 1993 Paraguay 49-21, Asunción
September 07 2001 Paraguay 22-13 Brazil, Asunción  
April 20 2002 Paraguay 14-13 Brazil, Asunción
March 23 2003 Paraguay 27-16 Brazil, Asunción
October 16 2004 Brazil 17-22 Paraguay, São Paulo
October 01 2005 Paraguay 45-8 Brazil, Asunción
June 29 2008 Paraguay 6-15 Brazil, Asunción
May 02 2009 Paraguay 21-36 Brazil, Montevideo
May 19 2010 Paraguay 18-23 Brazil, Santiago
May 20 2011 Paraguay 14-51 Brazil, Puerto Iguazu 

Brazil enters the match as the favorite due to the Portuguese speaking country having dominated Paraguay in recent years. Overall the resutls are quite evenly matched but there have been clear trends such as Brazil being superior in the 1970´s and Paraguay in the 1990´s and 2000´s. The last time Paraguay defeated Brazil was in 2005 with a big win in Asunción. Since then, however Brazil has not only reversed the results but has been able to do consistently well. The last match between the countries saw Brazil win 51-14 in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina. A similar result would not be out of the question as Brazil are certainly expected to win. But it will be based on superior work in the forwards that could open up into try scoring opportunities as the game unfolds. Brazil to win by 25.

Paraguay v Brazil, 2010

Paraguay v Brazil, 2011

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