Sunday, May 10, 2015

CONSUR: World Cup participants Uruguay in shock loss to Chile

Mauricio Palma-Comité Olimpico Chileno
Uruguay's eagerly awaited return to the Rugby World Cup after an absence of twelve years was hit by an unexpected away loss against Chile on Saturday. The loss was termed a nightmare by Ignacio Chans and it is to carry with it ramifications as Uruguay is set to drop out of the Top 20 in the updated World Rugby World Rankings which will be released on Monday. With Uruguay set to play a nightmare list of opponents in this years World Cup the loss against Los Condores could be a much needed wake-up call for Uruguay. An underwhelming performance saw Los Teros not only playing badly but lacking the focus to perform as the gap between Uruguay and Chile disappeared with Chile savoring a victory over a World Cup participant.      

In what was described as the worst afternoon of Los Teros in a very long time, Uruguay suffered a shock away loss against Chile in Santiago on Saturday. Uruguay's preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015 has been tarnished. Los Teros had been expected to complete a comfortable win to carry on the quality performances shown against Brazil and Paraguay in April. Instead Uruguay prepares for home matches against Argentina and Fiji needing to respond rapidly and decisively. 

Like Brazil earlier in the day Uruguay was well beaten by a lower ranked opponent. Brazil lacked penetration and finishing while Los Teros were similarly off their game and failed to react. The loss, though, was not simply due to a poor Uruguayan performance. To the contrary Chile delivered the kind of performance that is hoped will generate significant interest in the new Pan American Six Nations competition set to start in February 2016. 

The final score of 30-15 did not comply with how the game commenced. Just four minutes in Uruguay was on top with outside centre Joaquín Prada scoring an unconverted try. Two minutes later the advantage was cancelled out as Chilean inside centre Cristian Onetto crossed for a try converted by Javier Valderrama. 

With Los Condores on top the boot of Francisco Urroz and Valderrama saw the unthinkable become reality as Chile went into half time with a 23-5 advantage. Uruguay would cut the deficit by three points with a Jerónimo Etcheverry penalty but a fifteen point gap was as close as Los Teros would come to catching the Chileans as the teams traded tries in the 43rd and 60th minutes to complete scoring. 

The result offers Los Teros an opportunity to act upon. The wins over Hong Kong and Russia which saw Uruguay qualifying for the World Cup were performed by a motivated and focused group of players. The way effort against Chile, in contrast, was not. Reaction time is just around the corner as Uruguay now returns home ahead of three home internationals against Argentina and Fiji.

Chile's win comes twelve months after losing against Brazil and failing to qualify for the 2015 CONSUR Cup. Los Condores have hit back to secure their place in the 2016 edition of the CONSUR Cup and have done so by winning the South American Championship. 

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