Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brazil 50-14 Mexico

The locals responded well
in São José dos Campos
A match of interest to the future of global rugby took place earlier this evening in the Brazilian city of São José dos Campos. Located in the state of São Paulo, São José dos Campos is the most rugby mad city in Brazil. It is a rare phenomena in that the city´s local team, São José Rugby has the support of the local city hall and also has a host of sponsors. They are two things which the vast majority of Brazilian rugby players and clubs can only dream of as the country´s sporting market is saturated with soccer to the extent that 95% of all sponsorship money spent in Brazil goes to soccer. In other words, all sports other than soccer have to fight over a market share of 5% which leaves rugby looking to get blood from stones as the sport is up against competitors with much more history and overall power in Brazil such as basketball, formula one and volleyball. There is a light at the end of the tunnel though and in Brazil the macho edge that rugby brings has resulted in exposure through advertising such as the latest commerical for the Brazilian Beer, Skol. The 30 second video features Brazilian international Junior Orioli of the Bandeirantes club in São Paulo.

São José is certainly leading the way and the city was rewarded with the rights of hosting the first of two test matches this week against Mexico. The city delivered very well as the public were out in force getting behind the Brazilian national men´s team on a night in which the rugby God´s were also in support as the weather was far friendlier than is traditional with a mild April night by Brazilian standards allowing the players much greater comfort than is the norm. They gladly accepted and delivered a highly entertaining match with Brazil coming out on top as the clear winners after having been in control of the scoreboard throughout the match. Brazil´s seven tries were scored by six players including Matheus Sampaio Silva (Ilhabela), Nelson Oliveira (São José), Eddy Pecapedra (Desterro) while Diego Lopes (Pasteur) and Leonardo Frota (São José) scored two each. Six of the seven tries were converted by flyhalf Leonardo Castiglione (SPAC) who also kicked one penalty goal.

The final scoreline should not come as any major surprize due to Brazil having been in the IRB World Rankings since they began in 2003 while Mexico, in contrast, was added only last year. Furthermore the rankings of the two countries is significantly tilted in favor of the Portuguese speaking nation as before the match was had 52,18 rankings points compared to Mexico´s 39.38. This meant Brazil entered the match ranked 33rd in the world compared to mexico ranked 74th. 

The opportunity of Brazil hosting a test match is very rare and doing so against a team from outside of South America is even rarer. But tonight match should hopefully go a long way to seeing Brazil recieving extra aid from the IRB to enable it to host matches of this kind with more regularity. More matches are urgently required and with Brazil set to face Chile and Uruguay for a chance of advancing to the final round of Americas Rugby World Cup Qualification tonight´s match against Mexico was one not taken lightly by the home side of the supporters. The second test will be played on Saturday in the city of Sante André in Greater São Paulo, or in São Paulo ABC as it is known in Brazil. 

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