Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rugby World Cup Qualification: Teros eye facing Russia in Siberia

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Photo Rugby News
Just days after defeating Hong Kong 28-3 at the Semi Final stage of Rugby World Cup repecharge qualification Los Teros staff are advanced in their preparation for the final hurdle. Uruguay is to face Russia in a two match home and away series to determine which of the two countries will occupy the final vacant position in England and Wales 2015. Attention is being placed on the low temperatures in Siberia, players activity between now and the away fixture in late September and the long trip to the middle of northern Asia.  

The setting for the first of the two matches will be equal to that of this past weekend's match in which Russia eliminated Zimbabwe. Central Stadium in Krasnoyarsk, some 6,000KM for Moscow will play host to the match. The selection of the venue is a reflection of the importance of Krasnoyarsk in Russian rugby and also due to it being at a time of the year in which international rugby can be played.

With rugby lacking a global season Russia's home internationals have tended to be played far from the heartlands. Locations such as Sochi have been the settings for matches played at stadiums or simply parks with few to no supporters in attendance. When Uruguay visit Krasnoyarsk the opposite is likely to eventuate as a vocal home crowd will be awaiting the South Americans.

Indeed Saturday's fixture against Zimbabwe featured home support which cheered almost everything positive that occurred from a Russian perspective. Turn-overs, lineouts and even tackles were greeted with cheers from the crowd. Playing in such a setting will be relatively new for Los Teros' players but the team has, nonetheless, got what it wanted as it will host the return fixture.

Unfortunately the match is not favorable for Uruguay due to it coinciding with the 2014 Americas Rugby Championship. The quality of the South American side competing in Canada will thus be sacrificed. Regardless of other rugby all eyes are firmly on Russia and no stone is being left unturned as Uruguay seeks a return to the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 2003.

Also set to be resolved is the participation, or not, of Rodrigo Capó Ortega. The Castres second-rower missed the match against Hong Kong due to the club requesting that he remain in France for pre-season activity. Earlier in the year he also remained in France rather than face the USA due to the birth of a child.

Both the player himself and Uruguay's rugby media have made it known that he will be playing for his country against Russia. His selection would see Uruguay at full strength and for Capó Ortega it would mark a first cap since 2009. The work that has been done off the field to re-build the bridges that led to internal fighting could now see the dream complete with the matches on September 27/28 in Krasnoyarsk and October 11/12 in Montevideo.

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