Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bahía Blanca confident of hosting Argentina v Scotland

Stortoni in Glasgow colors
With the UAR yet to confirm the venues for Argentina´s six home test matches this year there have been a number of rumours circulating as to which matches wll be played in which cities. UAR President Luis Castillo has nonetheless made it clear which cities will be hosting certain matches. Ireland is set to play in Resistencia and Tucumán, New Zealand in La Plata, South Africa in Salta and Australia in Mendoza. All are yet to be made official by the UAR but these locations have, nonetheless, been verbally confirmed in interviews with officials. The location of Argentina v Scotland, on the other hand, remains speculation.

Just exactly where Scotland will play in June remains a matter of uncertainty. Córdoba and Rosario have been strongly linked to the fixture with rugby authorities from both cities indicating their interest to host the match. Authorities in Rosario have said that Córdoba is more likely to secure the fixture while Córdoba has said the contrary. The fixture could therefore be played in either city as well as a number of others. There is no shortage of options in Argentina which is part of what makes the country such as compelling option to host Rugby World Cup 2023.

The latest city to emerge as a possible host for Argentina v Scotland in Bahía Blanca. The city is to host the Copa Patagonia from February 15-22 involving rugby in addition to a host of other sports. The Bahía Blanca Secretary of Sports would like the city to be allocated hosting rights for the international against Scotland. Former Puma and Bahía Blanca native Bernardo Stortoni dreams of his city hosting the fixture at the Olimpo, a modest sized stadium with a seating capacity of 20,000 making it notably smaller than both Córdoba and Rosario.

Stortoni contends that the Olimpo is in perfect condition to host the match and is complete with up to date facilities for players and spectators. The former Puma fullback also admits to having spoken directly with UAR commerical manager Miguel Dupont about the idea and has the support of the Olimpo club president, Alfredo Dagna. What remains, according to Stortoni, is for the UAR to verify the field dimensions.

Should Bahía Blanca be allocated the fixture then it would be the biggest sporting event ever to be played in the city. The city is yet to host an international rugby match but is one that would be considered for a Rugby World Cup in Argentina. Should the city host an international match then the case for it to be considered for a Rugby World Cup in Argentina would grow. The city is located 630KM south of Buenos Aires and 450KM west of Mar del Plata.

Stortoni was a professional player in Europe from 2001-2011 where he played in France, England and Scotland. his biggest success in Europe came from 2007-2011 with the Glasgow Warriors where he was a regular starter and even club captain for a period. Stortoni played a total of twenty-six test matches for Argentina from 1998-2008 with his debut being against Japan in Tokyo and his final appearance against Ireland in Dublin. He started for Argentina in the 2005 draw against the British and Irish Lions at the Millennium Stadium. 

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