Friday, February 20, 2015

International Rugby: Salta to host both tests v USA

Photo Unión de Rugby de Salta
Although it was confirmed that Salta would be playing host to an international rugby match between Argentina and the USA in several months time it remained clouded as to when the match would be played and whether it was to be the first or second test. Local Newspaper La Gaceta has now clarified the issue confirming that Salta is to host both test matches with the USA Eagles playing on April 28 and May 02. According to La Gaceta to reason for both tests being played in the same city is that it was the desire of Los Pumas head coach Daniel Hourcade. Prior to playing aganist Argentina the USA is expected to play a match against Uruguay in Montevideo. 

Salta has been working hard in recent months to secure international rugby in 2015. The city played host to a Rugby Championship match in 2014 with South Africa completing a late 33-31 victory. With 2015 being a Rugby World Cup year, however, there is only to be one Rugby Championship match in Argentina and one other capped warm-up fixture following the completion of the 2014-2015 European club season. 

Mendoza has been retained as the host venue for Argentina v Australia while the non-Rugby Championship match against South Africa is to be played in Buenos Aires. Salta's rugby union and local government have now secured hosting rights to the other capped international rugby in Argentina this year with the USA Eagles confirmed as playing in the city on April 28 and May 02. 

Central to the decision was not only the offer made by Salta's authorities but also the request of Daniel Hourcade. Yet to be confirmed is whether, or not, the matches will be played at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena or not. The stadium was the venue used to host the Springboks in 2014 and prior to that played host to tests v Italy and England in previous years. 

In addition to the city's Copa América Stadium the Gimnasia y Tiro club field is also under consideration. An official announcement is expected to be made over the coming days. The tour is to be the first by the USA since 2003. The Eagles have previously played four tests in Argentina all of which took place in Buenos Aires. 

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