ARC Preview – Chile

chile-uruguay-2014

Story Source : http://www.americasrugbynews.com/

Just one day to go! The groundbreaking new test rugby tournament begins on Saturday. The bringing together of Rugby World Cup regulars Argentina, Canada, and the USA along with the rapidly developing Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile gives the Americas a legitimate and highly promising platform for rugby to grow throughout the region.

2015 FORM

The significance for Chile in having the opportunity at playing in the Americas Rugby Championship can be comprehended merely from viewing Los Cóndores’ matches in 2015. Opportunities were slim as has been the case year after year. That though all changes now as Chile have five matches in the coming weeks and additional ones as the year unfolds.

Chile’s South American A Championship campaign last April and May saw Los Cóndores playing three times and coming away with a more than satisfactory outcome. Paul Healy coached the side to a perfect three wins from three outings.

First up was Brazil, a side to have surprised Brazil the previous year with a home win in São Paulo. Los Cóndores ensured it was to be a one-off with a comprehensive 32-3 victory in Santiago. A perfect 7 from 7 from Javier Valderrama and tries from Ítalo Zunino and Francisco Hurtado saw Chile comfortably home.

Away to Paraguay, Chile was given a tougher than expected assignment. Valderrama was less accurate, landing 6 of his 9 attempts at goal in a 35-25 victory. Chile’s pack performed well with second-rowers Agustín Fernandez and Matías Cabrera and prop Ramón Ayarza all scoring opening half tries. Scrum half Juan Pablo Perrotta crossed in the second half.

Los Yakáres would go on to defeat Brazil in an away fixture to finish third while Chile would take-on the Rugby World Cup 2015 qualified Uruguay at home in the final round. The boot of Valderrama was contributive again as he kicked 5 from 5 in a 30-15 shock win. Tries by Zunino, Perrotta and Cristián Onetto were crucial as Uruguay scored fewer with one of their two being a penalty try.

The three wins meant Chile won a first ever South American A Championship. Not featuring was Argentina with the Argentina XV instead meeting Paraguay and Uruguay in the CONSUR Cup. Argentina’s two wins meant the Argentina XV was the official South American Champions for 2015.

POST RWC 2015

The year did not end well for Chile and was,  in fact, disastrous. In order to prepare for the ARC, Chile departed on a rare international tour. The two-match trip of Spain in November was the end of the road for Healy. The Australian handed in his resignation to FERUCHI the following month, doing so with heavy criticism over the union’s lack of action and day-to-day activities.

The two matches in Spain were losses. Against the Basque Country in San Sebastián, Healy fielded largely his reserves and the team was defeated 31-14. A full-strength Cóndores lineup was then selected for a test against Spain four days later with Chile being humbled 54-10. The 8 tries to 2 loss was far from ideal preparation for the ARC.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

A host of new names are to play for Chile in the ARC with a number of Chilean from the Spanish tour players left out. Of those retained prop Ramón Ayarza is one of the players to have joined the roster from France. The young front row has many years of international rugby ahead of him. Seven years the older, Sergio de La Fuente is another notable prop.

Chile also has some accomplished centres with Matías Nordenflycht and Leonardo Montoya being two lesser known names to look out for. Nordenflycht made a swift and successful transition from the junior side to Los Cóndores, impressing against Brazil and Paraguay in 2013. In addition to being a strong attacker he is also a quality goal kicker.

With the responsibility of marshaling play Juan Pablo Perrotta will be required to perform at the best of his abilities. In previous matches for Los Cóndores he has proven to be a very capable athlete.

VERDICT

A quick transition sees the new coaching team of Elías Santillán, Sebastián Gajardo, and Bernardo García needing to deliver. They are fortunate to have home matches against both Brazil and Uruguay, the 4th and 6th seeds of the competition. Chile enter between them, as the 5th seed and in all likelihood will finish in this precise position.

Wins against Argentina, Canada, and the USA are on the distant horizon for now but the beauty of the ARC is such that with time Los Cóndores are certain to close the gap. The win over the USA during Rugby World Cup 2003 qualifying is a firm indication as is the strength of the junior program at previous World Rugby Junior World Trophy tournaments. This year Chile entered as favorites against Brazil while in the remaining four fixtures Los Cóndores will be the firm underdog.

FIXTURES

Feb 6 vs Brazil Santiago 18:00 Chile, 19:00 Brasilia
Feb 13 vs Argentina San Juan 18:00 Argentina/Chile
Feb 20 vs USA Fort Lauderdale 18:00 EST, 20:00 Chile
Feb 27 vs Uruguay Santiago 18:00 Chile/Uruguay
Mar 5 vs Canada Santiago 19:00 Chile, 17:00 EST

SQUAD

NAME POS HGT WGT DOB CAPS CLUB
Ayarza, Ramón PR 1.86
6-1
122
270
Aug 28
1993
4 La Voulte (FR)
de la Fuente, Sergio PR 1.86
6-1
119
260
Jul 31
1986
48 Waipu (NZ)
Munita, José Tomás PR 1.92
6-4
120
265
Aug 11
1992
4 Universidad Católica
Sepúlveda, Luis PR 1.78
5-10
116
255
Jul 13
1982
6 Los Troncos
Zamorano, Claudio PR 1.78
5-10
103
225
Jan 8
1989
9 Stade Francais
Dussaillant, Tomás HO 1.76
5-9
100
220
Apr 26
1986
0 Old Boys
Moya, Rodrigo HO 1.81
5-11
105
230
Sep 30
1982
0 P.W.C.C.
Álvarez, Ignacio LO 1.93
6-4
105
230
Jul 23
1988
5 C.O.B.S.
Cabrera, Matías LO/N8 1.95
6-5
97
215
Oct 31
1987
6 Cisneros (SP)
Piwonka, Raimundo LO 1.93
6-4
105
230
Dec 7
1986
1 P.W.C.C.
Niedmann, Cristobal FL/HO 1.72
5-8
90
200
Dec 9
1992
15 P.W.C.C.
Richard, Javier FL 1.86
6-1
96
210
Feb 25
1991
4 C.O.B.S.
Silva, Ignacio FL 1.87
6-2
98
215
Feb 16
1989
14 Stade Francais
Soto, Benjamín FL 1.82
6-0
96
210
Aug 26
1987
15 Stade Francais
Bursic, Nikola N8 1.88
6-2
115
255
Aug 12
1993
4 C.O.B.S.
Perrotta, Juan Pablo SH 1.73
5-8
83
180
May 9
1987
22 Universidad Católica
Vergara, Beltrán SH 1.76
5-9
81
180
Dec 15
1990
0 Old Boys
Onetto, Cristián FH 1.80
5-11
89
195
Feb 11
1983
60 C.O.B.S.
da la Fuente, Francisco CE 1.83
6-0
90
200
May 23
1988
12 Bagnères (FR)
Larenas, José Ignacio CE 1.82
6-0
89
195
Sep 14
1989
11 Universidad Católica
Nordenflycht, Matías CE 1.83
6-0
95
210
Oct 2
1994
6 C.O.B.S.
Contreras, Matías WI 1.87
6-2
86
190
Dec 28
1994
5 Alumni
Montoya, Leonardo WI 1.78
5-10
82
180
Aug 5
1986
2 Rouen (FR)
Zunino, Ítalo WI 1.77
5-10
84
185
Jun 16
1992
8 C.O.B.S.
Casas, Pablo FB 1.88
6-2
90
200
Mar 4
1992
1 P.W.C.C.
Chacaltana, Humberto FB/FH 1.78
5-10
90
200
Jun 23
1986
0 Universidad Católica

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