|Photo US Carcassonne|
The immense pressure Uruguay is under in returning to the Rugby World Cup, for the first time since Rugby World Cup 2003, cannot be downplayed. Uruguay is to play in the Pool of Death, a group more fierce than any in the tournament's twenty-eight year history. Awaiting Uruguay are former champions Australia and England, former two-time Semi Finalists Wales and two-time Quarter Finalists Fiji. Coming up against teams with detailed player rosters featuring players contracted to leading professional teams is going to be be highly daunting and to prepare the Uruguayan Rugby Union (URU) has contracted the country's leading domestic based players to train fulltime rather than work. The majority of the squad are to, indeed, be Uruguayan based but some do play in Europe. Such a player is fly half Felipe Berchesi who has just signed a contract to play in France's second division for US Carcassonne. He makes th move from the Fédérale 1 and brings with him the reputation of being the best goalkicker from the third division.
Uruguay's hard-fought 27-27 draw at home against the USA twelve months ago was a match in which the home team's halves combination of Agustín Ormaechea and Felipe Berchesi got the better of their northern opposition. The former was the most notable Uruguayan in the match due to him being contracted to Mont de Marsan in France's Pro d2.
Los Teros took on the USA with a number of players based abroad but Ormaechea was alone in playing in either the premier division or second division of an elite league. Berchesi was playing professional rugby but in a lower division. This did not stop the fly half from performing well against the USA and in subsequent qualifying matches as Uruguay defeated Russia in the final round.
Now aged 24 Berchesi has his future secured. Pro d2 side US Carcassonne have signed the pivot from Fédérale 1 side Chambery. It marks the continued evolution of Berchesi's career after he previously played in Italy's first division. His arrival in the Pro d2 follows him having scored 173 points in 12 matches for Chambery to be the highest scorer in the Competition.
The South Americans will make their return to the Rugby World Cup this year and face Wales at the Millennium Stadium on the opening weekend. Berchesi is expected to be starting against the Welsh. To date he has earned twelve tests caps for his country.