Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Speculation mounts that Salta will host Argentina v Australia in 2014

Photo Rugby Time: Los Pumas could face Australia in Salta in 2014
As reported earlier in the week there is great reason for the UAR to consider hosting Australia, New Zealand and South Africa at different venues in 2014 than those used in the first two years of the Rugby Championship. 

There has been widespread speculation in the northern Argentine city of Salta recently that it will host the 2014 Rugby Championship test between Los Pumas and Australia. The speculation has involved the province´s secretary of sport who has spoken strongly of the chances of securing the Wallabies fixture. It would mean northern Argentina would host a Rugby Championship fixture for the first time and would therefore be a boost to the campaign for Argentina to host the Rugby World Cup.

As a country with a population of 40 million people and one with a history of hosting big events Argentina has no shortage of notable venues that are adequate to recieve international rugby matches in the Rugby Championship and indeed in the 2023 Rugby World Cup should Argentina host the tournament. In order to host a nation needs venues both big and small to meet the demands of big Tier One v Tier matches but also smaller matches involving one of more sides from Tier Two or Tier Three nations. 

The Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in Salta is far from being Argentina´s largest stadium but it is the largest in Salta and the second largest in the north after Tucumán. But unlike the Estadio Monumental Presidente José Fierro in Tucumán the Salta venue is far from being aged. It has a capacity for 20,400 spectators which places it  as probably the largest venue that would make the final list of venues to host a Rugby World Cup in Argentina. It is, nonetheless, a larger capacity than the crowd in attendance in Perth in Australia´s home match against Argentina in the 2013 Rugby Championship. 

England´s inability to secure the use of the stadiums throughout the country has seen Wales allocated a staggering eight matches, including two Quarter Finals. It has also seen  England´s second largest city, Birmingham host only two matches while the third largest, Manchester has only secured one. The governing body of rugby in England, the RFU continues to fail to utilize any venue other than Twickenham for the purpose of test match rugby. Regardless of who England faces the venue is always the same which certainly factored into the match schedule released earlier this year for Rugby World Cup 2015. 

The UAR has used the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena previously. It played host to test matches against England in 2009 and 2013 and also hosted Argentina´s warm-up match for the 2013 Rugby Championship against New South Wales. The stadium played host to two matches in the 2011 Copa América, South America´s continental soccer championship to determine the CONMEBOL champion. The city is the home town of Pumas tighthead prop Juan Figallo.

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