Ecuador completed its arrival on the international stage with a third win in less than a week as the South American country ended a perfect CONSUR C campaign with a win over El Salvador on Saturday. Having upset the host nation, Costa Rica, on Wednesday Ecuador was expected to have no problems in confirming itself as the tournament´s winner.
Returning home from Costa Rica Los Piqueros are now bound for the 2014 CONSUR B tournament which will involve more familiar nations to the players involved. Ecuador shares borders with both Colombia and Peru who play in CONSUR B as does Venezuela, a nation with strong political ties. Paraguay has been in CONSUR B for quite some time now but the fifth ranked CONSUR nation could well play in an improved CONSUR A tournament in 2014.
Ecuador´s promotion to CONSUR B is not likely to leave a hole as there are other emerging nations who could well be added. Indeed although there were only four teams in the CONSUR C there were two others involved today. The day kicked-off with an international match between Panama and Nicarágua. With Costa Rica placed geographically between the two countries it was a logical decision.
Panama won the contest 12-7 in what was the most evenly fought contest of the day. The host nation played in the second fixture and had no troubles in defeating Guatemala. The 59-10 victory saw Costa Rica finish with two out of three wins for the week while Guatemala´s only win came against Southern neighbors El Salvador.
|Los Piqueros celebrate glory in San José|
The extent of Ecuador´s success can perhaps be best measured by looking at the history of CONSUR B. Brazil had been playing tests against Costa Rica on an annual basis not too long ago while Ecuador has only emereged in much more recent times. Central to the growth has been Argentina with rugby personal from Argentina being active in training programs that have enabled Ecuador to have an international team and win an intercontinental title.
There is still plenty of work to be done as Ecuador is far from reaching the level of Brazil or Chile but there is reason to believe that it will be able to grow sustainably and CONSUR B offers the ideal foundation. None of the teams competing in San José are IRB members but they should all be so in time. Ecuador will now be able to build towards becoming a full IRB member. All other CONSUR B members hold this status.