Rio set for final RWC Sevens men's qualifier(IRB.COM) Friday 22 February 2013
By Frankie Deges in Rio de Janeiro
This weekend sees the final Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013 regional qualifying tournament taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
With 23 teams already qualified for the men's event in Moscow on 28-30 June, one final place is left for a South American side to complete the 24-team tournament.
The 2013 CONSUR Sevens will have nine teams vying for that opportunity, and also includes HSBC Sevens World Series core side Argentina, who automatically qualified for the showpiece event in Russia having finished as runners-up at RWC Sevens 2009.
The Estadio da Gavea, Club Regatas do Flamengo will host the tournament for a second consecutive year, and there are two pools of five, with the top two teams qualifying for a round robin. The team that finishes the highest other than Argentina will qualify for Rugby World Cup Sevens.
2012 champions Uruguay, who competed at the recent USA Sevens, will be looking to qualify for their third RWC Sevens. Luis Pedro Achard, who was their coach in 2009, has a number of players from previous IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy tournaments, including brothers Juan Diego and Agustín Ormaechea, and Felipe Berchesi.
Archard will also have former Argentina coach Duncan Forrester, who led them to the final in Dubai, as a consultant. Gastón Mieres, who scored the try that won his side the tournament in 2012, is back with the eldest of the Ormaechea brothers, Juan Diego, captaining the side.
“That is it, we can’t speculate anymore," said Juan Diego Ormaechea.
"We worked very hard over the last months and now is the time to prove ourselves on the pitch. As a team, we must trust all of what we’ve done to be ready as we are."
Uruguay will be joined in Pool A by hosts Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela and Guatemala.
Chile, who will join Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador in Pool B, recently won a tournament in Argentina, beating the national provincial champions in the final. They also competed strongly at a home tournament in Renaca, finished joint fifth in the Las Vegas Invitational tournament, and had a training camp in Argentina before travelling to Río de Janeiro.
Coached by Sevens expert Edmundo Olfos they highly rate their chances and have a good blend of speed, strength, youth and experience with Felipe Brangier their danger player.
Hosts Brazil will open the tournament on Saturday, at 09:00 local time against Guatemala. Having played second fiddle to a very successful women’s Sevens team that has won this tournament every time since it started in 2004, they have been working under Dallas Seymour, one of New Zealand’s most famous Sevens players. The team spent two weeks in Christchurch last December where they were coached by the Crusaders set-up and entered a few local tournaments.
“We have a very well balanced and experienced team," said captain Fernando Portugal.
"We’ve changed our style and had to adapt to it, but our new proposal is to do things right, precise and efficiently. Sevens doesn’t allow for mistakes so we have to be very clear and conscious of our game plan."
Argentina, who will be hoping to bounce back from their defeats in 2011 and 2012 to Brazil and Uruguay respectively, and to use this as a platform for the upcoming HSBC Sevens World Series events in Hong Kong and Tokyo, recall Lucas Alcácer, Gastón Revol and Lucas de Vicenzi to their squad. There are debuts for two age grade players in Juan Cappiello and Joaquín Paz.
Eleven of the 51 matches – men and women – will be televised live over the weekend.
Day one pool fixtures:
Pool A: Brazil v Guatemala
Pool A: Paraguay v Venezuela
Pool B: Peru v Ecuador
Pool B: Chile v Colombia
Pool A: Brazil v Venezuela
Pool A: Uruguay v Guatemala
Pool B: Peru v Columbia
Pool B: Argentina v Ecuador
Pool A: Uruguay v Brazil
Pool A: Paraguay v Guatemala
Pool B: Chile v Ecuador
Pool B: Argentina v Peru
Pool A: Venezuela v Guatemala
Pool A: Uruguay v Paraguay
Pool B: Colombia v Ecuador
Pool B: Argentina v Chile