Friday, January 4, 2013

Retro Friday - Diego Ormaechea try v Spain

With the expansion from sixteen to twenty teams from Rugby World Cup 1995 to 1999 there were four extra places and two of them were given to repercharge qualifiers. Since then it has changed with only one repercharge slot now existing but from 1999-2007 there were two with Tonga qualifying in this way on all three occassions and Uruguay also qualifying vai repercharge for Rugby World Cup 1999. On all three occassions Tonga qualified as Oceania 3 and defeated Asia 2 which was always South Korea. Uruguay´s qualification, in contrast, came after advancing in the South American zone and facing intercontinental opposition from Africa and Europe. It sealed its place in history to be the second South American nation to play at a Rugby World Cup when it defeated Morocco and Portugal to qualify for Wales 1999.

Uruguay was drawn with debutants Spain, reigning World Champions South Africa and the Pools host nation, Scotland. The team was captained by Diego Ormaechea who at 40 years and 13 days became the oldest player ever to play in a Rugby World Cup. the record still stands today and is likely to never be beaten. He also went down in history for being the first try scorer ever for his country at a Rugby World Cup and that try also set a new world record with Ormaechea becoming the oldest ever try scorer after he passed the record set by former Italian international Sergio Lanfranchi who scored a try against Germany when he was aged 38 years and 177 days.

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