Wednesday, March 12, 2014

CONSUR: Details emerging for 2014 South American Championship

The governing body of South American rugby, CONSUR, has drawn up plans for a new format for the South American Championship but is yet to make them official due to the member unions needing to firstly agree to the changes. Under the new system Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay are to compete in a South American Championship played with sufficient recovery time between matches with preference in hosting matches given to the lower ranked nations according to IRB World Rankings. Argentina´s involvement is also to be different to that of previous tournaments.

The new format has been accepted by member unions and an official announcement is to be made after the unions have agreed to the dates and venues for the matches. The new system to start for the 2014 South American Championship is to see Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay all facing one-another in one match while Chile and Uruguay will also face Argentina.

Chile and Uruguay will be facing Argentina based on their performances in the 2013 South American Championship and, similarly, the two best placed countries from the 2014 tournament will face Argentina in 2015. Both Chile and Uruguay are to play host to Argentina which continues with the tradition of Argentina doing what other Tier One unions fail to do - play test rugby against lower tiered nations and do so in away fixtures.

Neither Australia nor New Zealand have ever played a test match in Fiji, Samoa or Tonga. Indeed the NZRU declined a request to play in Fiji in 2013 to commemorate 100 years of Fijian rugby. South Africa virtually never faces African nations. There have only ever been two tests between South Africa and Namibia and one was at a Rugby World Cup. Three of the four New Zealand v Tonga matches have been at World Cups while Argentina has played Uruguay thirty-seven times.

The behavior of Tier One European unions, the Six Nations, resembles the Tri Nations unions not Argentina. In IRB World Rankings Italy is currently 14th and Georgia 16th. The teams have only met once while the 10th ranked Scotland was challenged by Georgia in the first and only contest between the nations at Rugby World Cup 2011. Georgia and Romania are to European rugby what the Pacific Islands are to Australia and New Zealand. For the purposes of global rugby this cannot be allowed to continue.

In 2014 Argentina will face Chile and Uruguay in away test matches. Chile is also to host Paraguay while Uruguay will host Chile. Paraguay is therefore to have two home fixtures, both against higher ranked nations with Brazil and Uruguay being the visitors. Brazil will play host to Chile and Uruguay. The order of South American rugby is therefore a bottom - up model which is designed to aid the growth of partners, regardless of existing gaps. The tournament is set to take place in April and May over a three week period. 



  2. While I agree some what with your criticism of Tier 1 nations. I would like to see the Wallabies go to the Islands to play a test or two as it would be a boon for the PI's. You have overlooked a few exceptions. Ireland will be playing Georgia in the spring schedule this year and have played both the US and Canada last year. Italy did likewise the year before and Scotland will feature this season. Though I agree more engagement is needed.

    As for Sth Afirca. They have just permitted a Kenyan squad to play in the Vodacom Cup (in place of the Pampas).