The first ever match between Brazil and Portugal will be played on Friday in Baruri, Greater São Paulo. The governing body of rugby in Brazil, the Confederação Brasileira de Rugby (CBRu) has been working hard to promote the match to encourage a strong turnout which has seen the match moved to the evening in what is to be a national holiday.
Brazilian headcoach Brent Frew has confirmed his team for the fixture and in doing so has raised the eyebrows of many a Brazilian rugby follower. The biggest names of recent times are all missing. There is no Fernando Portugal, no Daniel Gregg, no Diego Lopez and no Lucas Duque. All are missing due to performance and age. Indeed in the 2013 Brazilian domestic competition, the Super 10 the most powerful team of the past decade was defeated as São José Rugby lost its status as the best team in Brazil. Winners SPAC have been rewarded with four players in the starting lineup to face Portugal while only one São José player is listed.
For the most part the players dropped certainly cannot lay claim to being unlucky. Many are simply too old now and were not able to perform to the required standard in the 2013 South American Championship. Having defeated Mexico in two warm-up matches the Brazilians were then overwhelmed losing by 16 points against Chile, 51 against Uruguay and 83 against a fully amateur Argentine side. The side that featured in these matches was very different to the one that Frew has named to face Portugal with the São José factor being one clear difference. But while São José is less represented there are a number of players connected to other clubs who have and do play for São José included.
The only listed São José player selected by Frew to start is mid-fielder Pedro Lopes who takes over the sacred 12 shirt previously owned by Fernando Portugal who played professional rugby for two years in Italy. Lopes is much younger and also has experience abroad as a member of the Grenoble youth academy in France while the club was in the Pro d2. Lopes will play outside debutant Sandy Browne from England who most people in Brazilian are yet to ever see play.
The match will be broadcast live in Brazil on Sportv starting at 8pm on Friday.
15 Gustavo Coghetto (Farrapos)
14 André Luiz (SPAC)
13 Gustavo Krahembuhl (Pasteur)
12 Pedro Lopes (São José)
11 Lucas Tranquez "Zé" (SPAC)
10 Sandy Browne (Araraquara)
9 Felipe Claro (SPAC)
8 Nick Smith (SPAC)
7 Matheus Daniel (Jacareí)
6 - João Luiz da Ros (Desterro)
5 - Lucas Piero (Desterro)
4 Diego Pietrobon (Charrua)
3 Jardel Vettorato (Charrua)
2 Daniel Danielewicz ( Desterro)
1 Jonatas Paulo (Bandeirantes)