Monday, November 5, 2012

Portugal have 11 professional players for South American Tour

Julien Bardy
Portugal´s two test tour of South America will be ideal preperation for the European nation as it looks to begin its qualifying matches for Rugby World Cup 2015. Portugal´s games in the 2012-2014 European Nations Cup double as World Cup qualifiers. The top two of Belgium, Georgia, Portugal, Romania, Russia and Spain will automatically qualify as Europe 1 and Europe 2. Spain is preparing by touring Namibia this month while Georgia, Romania and Russia will take on Tier Two nations in Europe.  Portugal is looking to qualify for its second Rugby World Cup after it made its debut in 2007 and despite being winless it did perform well, particularly against Italy and Romania. It qualified after eliminating Uruguay by one point overt wo matches

Portugal had named twelve European professional players for its South American tour but one player will miss out. The teams best player, Julien Bardy will not tour after the Clermont Auvergne backrower  was involved in foul play against Biarritz in a Top 14 match. His loss will be significant to Portugal´s chances. He is the only Top 14 player with the remaining players all being based in either Portugal or in the lower divisions of French or English rugby. The loss of Bardy coincides with Uruguay´s star forward Rodrigo Capó Ortega not returning from Castres for the match. 

The tour starts on November 11 with Uruguay hosting Portugal November 17. Chile will host Portugal on November 17. 

Francisco Fernandes (Béziers, France)
Anthony Alves (Chalon-sur-Saone, France)
Jorge Segurado (Direito)
Bruno Rocha (Tecnico)
José Leal da Costa (Agronomia)
João Correia (Direito)
Mike Tadjer (Massy, France)
Gonçalo Uva (Narbonne, France)
David dos Reis (Châteaurenard, France)
David Penalva (Montauban, France)
Francisco Sousa (Cascais)
Julien Bardy (Clermont Auvergne, France)
Tiago Girao (CDUL)
Jacques Le Roux (Coventry, England)
Laurent Balangue (Saint Jean de Luz, France)

Samuel Marques (Albi, France)
Francisco Malgahães (CDUL)
Pedro Cabral (CDUL)
Pedro Leal (Direito)
Carl Murray (CDUL)
Frederico Oliveira (CDUL)
Adrien Timoteo (Saint Étienne, France)
Gonçalo Foro (CDUL)
Antonio Aguilar (Direito)
Wilfred Rodrigues (Massy, France)
Nuno Penha Costa (CDUL)


  1. This is a good tour for South America. It's been ages since the last time they both received a side from outside the continent.

    By the way can you notice a theme in this Portuguese squad?

    Some of the squad obviously have origins elsewhere such as Carl Murray (New Zealand)and Jacques le Roux (South Africa), but look at the amount of French players of Portuguese origin in the side.

    Francisco Fernandes, Anthony Alves, Mike Tadjer, Laurent Balangue, Samuel Marques, Julien Bardy, Adrien Timoteo and Wilfred Rodrigues are all French born players who went through the French system but have some Portuguese ancestry.

    If you think that is quite a few French players with Portuguese ancestry that are in the squad, then you should see the Spain squad.

    Over the past 18 months Spain has added loads of French Pro D2, Fédérale 1 and even Top 14 players with Spanish ancestry into their squad.

    Whilst neither is breaking the IRB rules, it is worth noting that a significant amount of the Iberian sides players aren't produced by them, but rather by the French system. Unlike Chile and Uruguay who I would expect will barely have any players from outside their nations in their squads.

    Julien Bardy for example was born in France, went through the Clermont academy but chose to play for Portugal via ancestry. Whilst he is a good player, Portugal can not say they produced him.

    This is definitely way the Iberian sides are going, and by the sudden wave of French Fédérale 1 and Pro D2 players into their sides over the past couple of years I would expect they have actively gone out to research possible qualified players.

    Spain even has managed to get some Top 14 players Fabien Rofes, Franck Labbe and Pierre-Emmanuel Garcia to play for them this year.

    1. I utterly agree. It is very similar to Italy with Argentine players. It is something that most nations do. Scotland is soon to have Maitland, Ireland has got Strauss and Bent now, Wales soon will have Dirksen, Japan, Samoa, Australia and so on have Kiwi´s and the list doesn´t end there.

      If Portugal and Spain can get it together to have a Semi Professional competition then their test teams will boom.

    2. The problem with Portugal and Spain though is that they don't produce enough of their own players though. And most of their best players play Pro D2 or Fédérale 1.

      As a result, I am told that the standard of their respective leagues is currently pretty poor. Which supports the argument for combining the two leagues together.

      What would be good is for Spain, Portugal and Italian domestic sides to have a semi pro or pro league together. And also Romanian, Georgian and Russian sides to have a pro league together. However the latter will never happen due to political relations between the respective nations.

      Romanian domestic rugby has actually the highest standard from outside the big three European leagues. This is due to most of the Romanians playing in Romania these days as Georgian players have taken their place in France somewhat. Russia has two or three strong teams but the rest of the league is a way off their standard, Georgia likewise are similar with a couple of big teams at the top dominating.

      The Romanian representative in the Amlin Challenge Cup comfortably defeated the Italian champions, and I am told that that team is an experimental development XV for Romanians similar to the Pampas XV, whilst the club champions would actually be stronger apparently as they have foreigners and more cohesion.

      Argentina and Georgia are probably the only two nations who don't really play players from other nations.

      Romania, France, South Africa and New Zealand (Pacific poaching is a myth as most of them were raised in NZ) also don't really do so much either, but have on a few occaisions.

      But the rest have been becoming much less like their nation. The British and Irish nations in particular have becoming increasingly prominent in selecting players from outside their nations. The Iberian nations too with players from France.