Thursday, October 31, 2013

Brazil preparing well to host Portugal in November


The first ever match between Brazil and Portugal is just around the corner. The two Portuguese speaking nations will face-off for the first time in the Barueri district of São Paulo on the afternoon of Friday November 15 which is a national Brazilian holiday.

The match is the only game Brazil will play in November and is also the only away match for the Portuguese. After playing in São Paulo the Lobos (Wolves) will return to Lisbon to prepare for an incoming test match against Canada and before flying to South America the Portuguese will host Fiji on November 9.

There has been speculation surrounding the make-up of the Poruguese for the Brazilian test. The short turn-around combined with the distance involved and the superiority of Portugal compared to Brazil really makes it a simple choice of Portugal blooding new players and having a better chance of performing well and pushing for wins of Fiji and Canada. 

The allocation of the match itself is surprizing. With Namibia taking on Kenya and Zimbabwe in a Tri Nations tournament in November options were certainly limited. Having Portugal play in Brazil is extremely positive for the global game but could arguably have been organized better. Brazil could have been included in Spain´s tour which sees Spain play two tests in South America on November 9 and 16 only to then host Japan in Madrid on November 23.

Future tours ought to see Brazil given the opportunity of hosting ENC nations while both Chile and Uruguay can feel let down by only hosting Spain in November.For Uruguay the fixture is crucial in preperation for the qualifying matches against the USA in March 2014. Portugal is also to be involved in Rugby World Cup qualification at the same time. Midway through the process Portugal is in fourth behind Georgia, Romania and Russia. With only the top two qualifying directly there is pressure on Portugal to deliver to finish third in place of Russia to have a chance at repercharge. The matches are to be played in February and March.

In Brazil there have been voices raised from rugby players from outside of São Paulo who are frustrated with the CBRu utilizing São Paulo exclusively in recent times for the purposes of test rugby. Some argue that with Rio de Janeiro hosting the Olympic Games in less than three years time it should be hosting not only Sevens rugby but also test matches. Be that as it may preperation for hosting Portugal has been smooth so far and the CBRu announced that admission to the match will be free. The same venue is to host a leg of the IRB Women´s Sevens World Series on February 21-22 2014. 

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