Friday, October 31, 2014

International Rugby: Uruguay's 2015 High Performance Evolution

Photo URU
Due to financial restraints Uruguay is not to be involved in international competition again this year. Los Teros will, in other words, be the only Rugby World Cup 2015 competitor not involved in the autumn internationals which start tomorrow with the USA hosting New Zealand in Chicago and Australia taking-on the Barbarians in London. The resources which Uruguuay does have will be invested into the 2015 campaign with Uruguay to play international rugby against a number of nations and also have the domestic based players receiving salaries to enable them to concentrate more on rugby and less on work.

The official start of the IRB international window is not November 01 but November 08. It is for this reason that USA Rugby acquired the release of Aviva Premiership players in exchange for them missing the USA's subsequent test matches in Europe against Romania, Tonga and Fiji. The autumn internationals, however, started earlier with Namibia hosting Germany during the week and Australia facing New Zealand two weeks ago in Brisbane.

It is, nonetheless, the November period which is the official period for test rugby to be played across Europe with the world's leading countries all on international duty. Argentina, Australia, Canada, Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, South Africa and Tonga are all playing tests in Europe while Namibia, Japan and the USA will play both at home and in Europe. Uruguay, though, has missed out.

Uruguay's international activity in the month of November will be restricted to a non-capped match in which Uruguay will face Brazil. The Unión de Rugby del Uruguay (URU) lacks the required funding to justify an international tour abroad at this time. Faced with a choice of touring in November or having a detailed World Cup preparation program the URU opted for the later. 

Sources have told Argentina 2023 that the URU is looking have a complete international calendar in place which will see Uruguay playing test rugby against opposition teams from South America, North America, Europe and Africa. In addition plans are in place for Uruguay to participate in either the IRB Pacific Cup in Australia or the Vodacom Cup in South Africa and for the Rugby World Cup squad members to undergo a high performance training regime in Pensacola, Florida.

All efforts are thus being put into Los Teros having a greater chance of being competitive in Pool A of next year's World Cup. The daunting task of facing Wales, Australia, Fiji and England requires a lot of hard work to be done both on and off the field in a relatively short period of time. The administration believes that there is much more to be gained by utilizing the time and resources available without making rushed decisions.

The year is to start in February with Uruguay to either play in the IRB Pacific Cup in Australia or the Vodacom Cup in South Africa. Involvement in either will cover the months of February and March while in April and May Uruguay is to be involved in a Pan-American Four Nations competition which will see the four American nations in Rugby World Cup 2015 playing test rugby against one-another.

The competition would not involve professional players abroad from any of Argentina, Canada, Uruguay or the USA due to it taking place outside of a release window. There is, nonetheless, hope, of acquiring some players for that competition and also for the South American Championship which will see Uruguay facing Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.

In June Uruguay is to play in the IRB Nations Cup in Romania. Joining Uruguay and the host nation are Ireland A and Italy A. Uruguay's involvement is based on Russia failing to qualify. It will be followed by a month of recovery with July giving those based in both hemispheres the opportunity to be as best prepared as possible for the World Cup which starts in September.

After returning from high performance training in Pensacola in August Los Teros are to face Namibia in a two match series and also paly friendlies against English teams. Los Teros will travel to the U.K. on September 06 and play their first match against Wales on September 20 in Cardiff.

The majority of the Teros squad members are to be domestic based players and for them to arrive in the U.K prepared for the tournament the URU is to pay the players salaries. It wants them to be completely dedicated to rugby and be involved in double training sessions. Uruguay will, as such, have its own version of PladAR in 2015.

URU president Sebastián Piñeyrúa views the policies as part of long term development to build a sustainable future. He is negotiating with the IRB to have Uruguay accepted as a Tier Two rugby nation. Should the change be granted then the funding that the URU receives from the IRB would double from US$160,000 to US$320,000 for the next four years. The financial advancement would be accompanied by Uruguay playing regularly against Tier Two opposition.

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