Friday, May 8, 2015

CONSUR: Brazil out to avoid Wooden Spoon v Paraguay

Brazilian rugby head coach Rodolfo Ambrosio has named his starting lineup for Saturday's home international against Paraguay in Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul. The fixture is a final round match in the 2015 South American Championship and a must-win match for both teams as the loser will end the tournament with not only the wooden spoon but also do so as the only winless competitor. With both having lost to Chile and Uruguay already neither will play in the 2016 CONSUR Cup which is to, instead, feature Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. The 2014 competition will see Paraguay playing in place of Chile due to having finished third in the 2013 South American Championship. Paraguay will host Argentina on May 23 while tomorrow's match is Brazil's last fixture against South American opposition for the year. With an eye to the future the Portuguese speaking nation needs to complete a comfortable win as the country is set to feature in the Pan American Six Nations. 

The progress of Brazil in recent years has been well documented. With the country preparing to host the inaugural edition of Rugby Sevens at the Olympic Games there is a lot of expectation placed on Brazil's development both in structural and on-field terms. 

Progress, though, has not been a one-way street. Indeed Brazil's history making home win over Chile in the 2014 South America Championship was followed by an away loss against Paraguay in Asunción. The result was such that Brazil finished below Paraguay who, in claiming second spot, qualified for the 2015 CONSUR Cup. 

Brazil's preparation for the fixture has gone well, albeit not ideal. Ambrosio was forced into making a late change with Rodolfo Veiga replacing Fred on the bench. It sees Brazil continuing with the policy of not calling-upon those athletes involved in the national Rugby Sevens program who are to play in the Olympic Games. 

The players (as shown above) come from a diverse range of Brazilian clubs, with thirteen in total being represented. Of these seven are in Brazil's national elite division championship, the Super 8. The only club not to have a player in the team to face Paraguay is Farrapos which, ironically, is the club situated in Bento Gonçalves, the host city for Saturday's international match.

As is customary in Brazilian rugby the match is to be played at the early kick-off time of 1pm local time. Conditions are expected to be friendly, however, as southern Brazil has been hit by cold weather today. The match is to be broadcast by SPORTV3. 

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