Friday, February 8, 2013

Retro Friday - Fantastic Uruguay performance v Georgia in 2003

Photo: Scrum Uruguay´s delight
In what was arguably the highest moment ever in the history of Uruguayan rugby, the national mens team, Los Teros, completed an impressive 24-12 victory over Georgia. the match was a part of Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia and the two sides met in the rugby stronghold of Sydney at the home of the Super Rugby franchise the New South Wales Waratahs. The Sydney Football Stadium has undergone many name changes in the corporate. At the time of Rugby World Cup 2003 it was known as Aussie Stadium and it hosted some interesting matches such as Argentina v Romania, South Africa v Georgia, Ireland v Namibia and the big one between Scotland and Fiji. The two matches involving Georgia were vastly different but were both cases in point of the importance of lower tiered teams on the global stage. The eastern Europeans played well against South Africa, earning praise from the global rugby media. 

It was Georgia´s first World Cup and Uruguay´s second. In 1999 Uruguay debuted and considering itsd opposition it left the tournament having achieved what it set out to do. Neither Scotland nor South Africa were able to score as many points as they had been expected to do so while Uruguay´s win over Spain was of great importance as it was its first ever match at a Rugby World Cup. Both Uruguay and Spain had targetted the match as the most important as it was, in reality, the only one either had a shot at winning. In 2007 it was the same this time between Uruguay and Georgia. The match between these two sides was a war fought in the trenches. It was all about who ahd the most muscle. Penalties were common and both sides kicked goals. The difference though was that Uruguay scored three tries while Georgia scored none. The three tries all featured quality plays from the South Americans but the real highlight of this match was the end when Uruguay celebrated with delight. The images of players running into the stands to celebrate with the friends and family are likely to live on forever.

It was not only a tournament defining match for both teams but a career defining one as for many players on both teams the chances of playing against such an evenly matches rival at another World Cup were remote. the match itself was dominated by the forwards but, nevertheless, featured some good rugby. The teams were criticizwed continuously by the commentators who correctly asserted that it was like the World Cup final to both teams. Indeed, both teams were out to win and this meant more to them than their matches against England, Samoa or South Africa at the same tournament. There were, however, too many negative comments regarding the type and quality of rugby from both teams. The match schedule handed to the majority of competing teams in 2003 by the IRB and the ARU was so unjust that the weaker sides were forced to play twice in five or even four days. Uruguay would go on to face England only four days after playing its final against Georgia. England, in contrast, only played on weekends. 

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