|Foto: Agustín Basso|
Important changes are to take place this year in Uruguay and for the better as the number two ranked South American nation is to have improvements made to the structure of domestic rugby. With better competitions and an improved union complete with facilities Uruguay is to have a genuine opportunity of returning to the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 2003.
The boost that is already underway in Uruguayan rugby with the acquisition of the Estadio Charrúa complete with modern training facilities has seen the image of Uruguayan rugby grow in the wider rugby community. The changes set to come into play in 2014 are to enable Uruguay to have a more vibrant domestic set up which will help contribute to a superior product and, in turn, aid Uruguay´s players improve their standard.
Changes being made are to see the creation of a second division which is to have promotion between the divisions and a new competition, the Copa Uruguay which is to involve all clubs that are a part of senior mens rugby. The senior level rugby will have three categories with the first division involving eight clubs and the second having nine while the third will have the second or third sides frmo a variety of Uruguayan clubs.
Involved in the first division are to be Old Boys, Champagnat, Christians, Carrasco Polo, Los Cuervos, MVCC, PSG and Trébol. The eight sides are to face each other in a round-robin format with the two best teams gaining direct qualification for the Semi Finals while the teams that finish between thrid and sixth will dispute barrage play-offs. The nine competing teams in the second division are to be Círculo de Tenis, Seminario, Los Ceibos, Carrasco Polo, Old Boys, Old Christians, Los Cuervos, Trébol and the relegated Lobos.
The new Copa Uruguay is to feature twelve clubs from the first and second divisions with the aim being to prioritize Los Teros. Matches are to be played in two pools of six with Semi Finals and a Final. It will begin on Abril 5, one week after the second match of the Rugby World Cup Qualification series between Uruguay and the USA. The final is scheduled to be played on November 1, which is expected to be two weeks before the Final Place Play-Off for Rugby World Cup qualification which could well see Uruguay facign Russia home and away.
The changes to domestic Uruguayan rugby will aid the national team. The rugby playing community in the country has also been active in trying to improve the level of Los Teros. In January the Teros Fund was launched which enables motorists to directly contribute to the national rugby team while purchasing gasoline.