Sunday, May 12, 2013

CONSUR is considering a revamped South American Championship

The governing body of rugby in South America, CONSUR is reported to be considering altering the South American Championship to make it more comparable to the highly successful competitions played in Asia and Europe. The recently contested competition doubled as qualification for Rugby World Cup 2015 and saw Brazil, Chile and uruguay play each other and Argentina in the sapce of one week. It was a highly complicated match schedule that highly favored Uruguay due to Los Teros playing both its matches at home, against the lower ranked Brazil and Chile., The short turn-arounds meant players who had suffered minor injuries were not able to recover in time for the following matches. This cost all teams and brought into question the sporting nature of the competition. 

While CONSUR´s premier tournament is problematic the Asian Five Nations and the European Nations Cup are quite the opposite. The Asian Five Nations has been highly successful with Japan being untroubled but, nonetheless, always competiting. The five team tournament has provided the continent with a platform for the best teams to compete with Japan. It also has a promotion / relegation format which ensures there will always be opportunities for others in the region. Europe also has promotion / relegation and the six team competition is also used for Rugby World Cup qualification. Put differently, both Asia and Europe have established competitions which provide equal opportunities to all competitors.

Chile has long been opposed to the CONSUR set up which, unlike Europe, does not operate on a home and away basis. The competition moves each year with Montevideo hosting all but one match in 2013 while the previous two editions were played in Argentina and Chile. The nature of the competition ensures that it operates in a cost-effective manner but it decreases the chances of there being a upset. This has caused outrage in all competing nations with frustrations not having been held back on social networks or on live television. For instance, former Brazilian scrumhalf and the voice of rugby on ESPN called the 2013 tournament absurd repeatedly while commentating Brazil´s three matches. 

The 2014 tournament could be different as there is a push for the tournament to become a much improved product. With ESPN providing live coverage of the matches in all of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay there is reason to believe that a reformulated South American Championship could be as successful as the Asian Five Nations and European Nations Cup. Moreover Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have all shown an ability of hosting matches and attracting crowds. While the rumours are yet to be mentioned in the mainstream rugby press sources do indicate that talks have indeed been taking place. A revamped competition ought to get the green light.

One of the options being considered is for the 2014 competition to operate on a triangular format in which Brazil, Chile and Uruguay each face each other in home and away matches and the winner advances to face Argentina to determine the South American Champion. A decision is expected to be made in June. 


  1. I hope we see a continental home OR away one year championship like the Six Nations and Asian Five Nations. I hope the individual unions keep pushing! I know Chile was even trying to get such a championship for this year. This goes even beyond CONSUR. The IRB was heavily involved in creating and also subsidising the costs despite the A5N having a core sponsor HSBC. So if the IRB is going to help Asia, then they need to do the same for South America.

    I'd even go further and advocate a PANAM6N with the current four CONSUR A teams and the USA & Canada and with promo playoffs between the NACRA champs winner and the CONSUR B winner and then the winner of that H&A against the PANAM6N last place. I think with USA & Canada onboard the competition has a bigger market and sponsorship potential. With the NACRA "big two" included, it would prompt a stronger Argentina side to compete as well.

    1. My long term preference would also be an Americas 6 Nations but that would mean changes to the Americas Rugby Championship. Hence, for the immediate future, the way to go may well be to set up a South American 5N and look to expand it over time once the product is financially not losing money.