ARC Preview – Uruguay

uruguay-guillermo-lijstenstein

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

It’s almost here, the groundbreaking new test rugby tournament begins this 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

Los Teros had an incredibly busy year with 17 matches in all with 14 different opponents of widely varying strength. They started with dominant wins over Paraguay and Brazil in the South American ‘A’ competition, but then fell to a USA XV in Montevideo followed by an embarrasing defeat to Chile in Santiago, the latter particularly deflating since it was a reasonably strong Uruguayan lineup.

The losing streak continued for another five games, including a two-game series against the Fiji Warriors and a mediocre three game set at the Tbilisi Cup in Georgia. Somehow they pulled out of the slump with their first ever victory over an Argentina XV in an inspired performance at the Estadio Charrúa, against a team featuring several players who will be on display in the ARC.

That would be their last win of the season, however, as they slumped to a pair of crushing defeats against Japan before being swept away in the World Cup. Despite the heavy scorelines, however, Los Teros showed some moments of class and their performances did show marked improvement since their last trip to the flagship event.

POST-RWC 2015

It’s been a very eventful three months since the conclusion of the World Cup for Uruguayan rugby. On the field the ‘A’ side stumbled in the third division of the Argentine provincial competition, losing to Sur and failing to gain promotion. Off the field, however, has been a different story.

Head coach Pablo Lemoine was promoted to High Performance Director, the centre of excellence at the Estadio Charrúa was ratified, and a new strategic alliance with the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) came to fruition. The new initiative has seen Esteban Meneses installed as head coach, some players becoming centrally contracted, and a revamped training schedule that has seen them sharing the pitch with Los Jaguares in recent days.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Los Teros will be without their star halfbacks Agustin Ormaechea and Felipe Berchesi, so it will be up to some different names to lead the way in the Americas Rugby Championship.

The forwards have long been the strength of Uruguayan rugby, and this team should not prove any different, though they do appear slightly more mobile than the past. One player who caught the eye both for his appearance and reckless playing style is beanpole flanker Matías Beer. Despite standing 1.94m (6’4″) he is one of the lightest forwards in the competition, but has endless energy and good skills.

Of similar height but of a sturdier build is athletic youngster Gonzalo Soto, a highly rated lock or loose forward from last year’s u20 program. Exuberant scrumhalf Santiago Arata is still eligible for this year’s u20 team, and is noted for his lightning acceleration and quick thinking. He is unlikely to start ahead of similarly talented Guillermo Lijtenstein, but should make his mark as an impact substitute.

Utility back Rodrigo Silva has been in the squad for four years already but has never quite found a home, having been shifted around the backline and even a couple games at scrumhalf. He prefers the flyhalf position, however, and his attacking skills appear to have put him in the frame to start ahead of the younger but more traditional Manuel Blengio.

VERDICT

While resent results might not mark them as a particularly serious threat, Los Teros should not be underestimated. Their new high performance environment is by all accounts a significant improvement on their purely amateur past and consistent training over several weeks should mark them as one of the most cohesive units in the competition. Argentina will likely prove too much for them to deal with and fourth place appears most likely, but if Uruguay can turn over Canada in the opener they could be sleepers to take the second spot come March.

FIXTURES

Feb 6 vs Canada Langford 21:00 UYT, 16:00 PST
Feb 12 vs Brazil São Paulo 19:00 UYT, 20:00 Brasilia
Feb 20 vs Argentina Maldonado 20:30 UYT/Argentina
Feb 26 vs Chile Santiago 18:00 UYT/Chile
Mar 5 vs USA Montevideo 18:00 UYT, 16:00 EST

SQUAD

NAME POS HGT WGT DOB CAPS CLUB
de Mula, Rodolfo PR 1.85
6-1
112
245
Mar 18
1985
24 P.S.G.
Echeverría, Juan PR 1.75
5-9
114
250
Oct 9
1991
10 Old Christians
Gattas, Facundo PR 1.88
6-2
108
240
Jul 2
1995
0 Lobos
Mones, Rafaél PR 1.85
6-1
105
230
Jan 12
1994
0 Seminaro
Sanguinetti, Mateo PR 1.86
6-1
105
230
Jul 26
1992
18 Los Cuervos
Arboleya, Carlos HO 1.73
5-8
110
240
Jul 23
1985
54 Trébol Paysandú
Kessler, Germán HO 1.83
6-0
105
230
Jul 1
1994
13 Los Cuervos
Lamanna, Franco LO/FL 1.90
6-3
105
230
Oct 1
1991
25 Carrasco Polo
Palomeque, Mathias LO 1.95
6-5
107
235
Jul 10
1986
26 Trébol Paysandú
Soto, Gonzalo LO/FL 1.92
6-4
101
220
Feb 10
1995
0 Carrasco Polo
Beer, Matías FL 1.94
6-4
87
190
Dec 16
1993
15 Old Christians
Gaminara, Juan Manuel FL 1.71
5-7
95
210
May 1
1989
27 Old Boys
Magno, Diego FL/N8 1.90
6-3
106
235
Apr 27
1989
51 M.V.C.C.
Nieto, Alejandro N8 1.86
6-1
108
240
Jan 7
1988
31 Champagnat
Arata, Santiago SH 1.71
5-7
72
160
1996 0 P.S.G.
Lijtenstein, Guillermo SH 1.69
5-6
72
160
Sep 14
1990
15 Trébol Paysandú
Blengio, Manuel FH 1.84
6-0
78
170
Apr 28
1994
11 Old Boys
Silva, Rodrigo FH/WI 1.82
6-0
86
190
Nov 2
1992
18 Old Christians
Deal, Pedro CE 1.79
5-10
95
210
Oct 13
1994
3 Old Boys
Román, Alberto CE 1.78
5-10
95
210
Jun 1
1987
37 P.S.G.
Vilaseca, Andrés CE 1.85
6-1
93
205
May 8
1991
16 Old Boys
Leivas, Leandro WI 1.81
5-11
98
215
Jul 6
1988
44 Old Christians
Martínez, Santiago WI/FB 1.86
6-1
87
190
Jun 15
1993
1 Carrasco Polo
Mieres, Gastón FB 1.80
5-11
80
175
Oct 5
1989
41 Lobos

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