Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Uruguay emerges as a crucial piece in the Rugby World Cup 2015 puzzle

Uruguay advance as South America 1
With the completion of the 2013 South American Championship on Saturday Brazil and Chile were both eliminated from the qualification process of Rugby World Cup 2015. Their elimination has consequences for England 2015 due to how the regional qualifying process has been going elsewhere. If there is to be a different competitor at Rugby World Cup 2015 to replace one of the twenty teams from Rugby World Cup 2011 it is now likely to be Uruguay. 

Uruguay´s 23-9 win over Chile saw Uruguay eliminated Chile but it also saw Uruguay hold on to 21st spot in the IRB World Rankings. Of the twenty teams ranked above Uruguay eighteen are all but guaranteed of qualifying. Those in doubt are Portugal, Russia and Spain. Only one of the three will be likely to have any chance of playing at England 2015. The qualification system is such that the top two European qualifiers advance and with Georgia and Romania both ahead of the three, and not likely to drop, they can be penciled in as Europe 1 and Europe 2 for England 2015. The top placed side from Portugal, Russia and Spain is likely to finish as Europe 3, after subsequently facing the top qualifier from the lower European tiers. 

With Russia currently in third place and with double the points of the fourth placed Portugal it is safe to assume that Russia will emerge as Europe 3. This being the case then there is no chance of Europe having a different country at Rugby World Cup 2015 than the nine European nations that played in New Zealand 2011. In other regions Fiji and Japan are certain to qualify as Oceania 1 and Asia 1 with Hong Kong appearing likely to be Asia 2 to advance to repercharge along with Europe 3. The African qualifier should become clearer in June. As it stands Namibia needs to win every remaining qualifying match or it will be eliminated. It will play in the Division 1B tournament in Senegal which will feature the host nation as well as Botswana and Tunisia. The winner will advance to the Division 1A and the winner of that will be Africa 1 and the runner up Africa 2 which will enter repercharge. 

With Namibia ranked 23rd and the next best, Tunisia in 43rd, it is probable that Namibia will win the Division 1B. Should it win the division then it will face three of Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda and Zimbabwe in 2014 in the Divsion 1A. Madagascar will host the 2013 tournament and should it win like it did in 2012 then it should be the frontrunner to, alongside Namibia, compete for the right to be Africa 1. But suggesting Namibia is no longer the top Africa nation outside of Madagascar lacks justification which means that the probable outcome is for Namibia to win its remaining matches and qualify for Rugby World Cup 2015 as Africa 1 which could mean Madagascar enter repercharge. 

The fourth repercharge spot will go to Uruguay, Canada or the USA. The winner of the home and away North American series will be Americas 1 and the runner-up will fight for the right to be Americas 2 when it faces Uruguay in November. The current state of affairs firmly suggests both North American sides will qualify which would see Uruguay enter repercharge. Given the IRB World Rankings and the history of test rugby matches involving the likely mentioned qualifiers of Hong Kong, Madagascar, Russia and Uruguay the final spot should come down to Russia or Uruguay. As such Uruguay can be assumed to be the only nation still in with a serious chance of qualifying that did not play in New Zealand 2011. 

Chile had a change of qualifying for the first time but a tough match schedule that goes against the ethics  of the sport of rugby and the changes made in the match allocation times for the teams to play in England 2015 . The three competing sides, and Argentina, played three test matches in the space of seven days. The reason for it is to ensure the competition can be as cheaply operated as possible. The cost effective tournament means that there is virtually no recovery time for players and, as such, a minor injury means the end of the tournament for a player. There were numerous examples of this for Brazil, Chile and Uruguay which made a tough tournament close to unplayable.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Unlike in previous events the matches were broadcast live on ESPN in all four competiting nations. This is a phenomenal change and means there is growing exposure to turn the CONSUR A tournament into a genuine event to match the Asian Five Nations or the European Nations Cup. The authorities now must act to see that future editions of the South American Championship are as fair as possible and are not located all, or mostly, in one city. The 2013 tournament saw Montevideo host all but one match. In 2014 it would be desirable for Brazil, Chile and Uruguay to  each host two matches ad for Argentina to host none. Such an arrangement would help promote rugby throughout the three nations and also aid in Argentina in being the best regional leader in global rugby. 

Uruguay v Chile

2 comments:

  1. Felizitaciones Teros por un campionato a todo o nada. No especularon con el descanso. Incluso se sobrepusieron al desafio de jugar sin nuestro 10 Arocena, una perdida sensible.

    Muchas Gracias ! Ahora vamos por Canada y USA carajo !

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    1. Oh yes say I. More time, more player releases, ( there are more talented CHI and URG players plying their trade in the lower FRA divisions) and more ARG D or E teams for a fairer competition!

      Mr. Tait you should be telling the JFU about sending their C or D to the Asian 5 nations.

      Maybe Japanese rugby can't afford to slip up before the world cup comes over here. Or maybe quality player numbers aren't so deep!

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