|Photo: Piazza Rugby|
Uruguay's European based players are on their way home ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong. A close to full strength Uruguay side will be looking for a home victory on Saturday August 2 in Montevideo to secure one of the two places available in the repecharge final. The runners-up of the 2014 CONSUR Cup, Los Teros, will meet the Asian Five Nations runner-up, Hong Kong, with the winner advancing to face either Russia or Zimbabwe in the Final Place Play-Off.
As European clubs prepare for the 2014-2015 season international coaches are preparing their details ahead of the second half of the 2014 international calendar. In the case of Uruguay, Hong Kong, Russia and Zimbabwe the second half of the year's international competition starts in just ten days time. The losers of Uruguay v Hong Kong and Russia v Zimbabwe on August 2 will be eliminated from Rugby World Cup qualification.
Of the four three are previous Rugby World Cup competitors. Zimbabwe played in the 1987 and 1991 tournaments as the only African country, Uruguay played in 1999 and 2003 while Russia did so in 2011. Despite being up against the only one without Rugby World Cup experience, Uruguay is taking Hong Kong very seriously with players being given extra attention and the union having invested in vastly improved facilities.
The leading domestic based players are this week being joined by European based Teros who are returning for the fixture. Felipe Berchesi, Agustín Ormaechea and Jerónimo Etcheverry (pictured above) are arriving in Montevideo from France this week. Not all players are back though as Castres second-rower Rodrigo Capó Ortega is not going to face the Asians but will be free to face Russia or Zimbabwe should Uruguay advance.
Having impressed against the USA in March injury forced Berchesi to miss out on playing in the 2014 IRB Nations Cup in Romania. He is now fit to start for Los Teros and has also changed clubs, moving from Italy to France where he will play for SOC Rugby Chambery in the Fédérale 1.