RWC Sevens dreams wide open in Rio(IRB.COM) Sunday 24 February 2013
By Frankie Deges in Rio de Janeiro
Hosts Brazil will have to work hard on day two of the CONSUR Sevens if they are to advance to the round robin from which the 24th and final qualifier for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia will be decided.
With last year's champions Uruguay, already qualified from their pool, Brazil will have to beat Paraguay, a side that proved very strong on the opening day.
In Pool B, Argentina, who have already qualified for the RWC Sevens in Moscow, booked their place in the round robin, but there are still three teams who could join them.
In extreme warm weather, Brazil opened the tournament with a solid 40-0 win against Guatemala, then beat Venezuela 36-5 but came unstuck against defending champions Uruguay 24-7 in their third match.
Uruguay, who competed at the recent HSBC Sevens World Series event in Las Vegas, beat Guatemala 26-0 and Brazil before coming from 10-0 behind to beat Paraguay 17-10.
After a Sergio Alvarenga brace, Uruguay scored through Federico Favaro, Rodrigo Martínez and Felipe Berchesi to secure a place in the round robin, despite still having one match left to play against Venezuela to complete the pool stages on day two.
Thus, the winner of the match between Brazil and Paraguay, at 9.20am (local time) in Gavea Stadium on day two, will continue to play for a ticket to Moscow. Last October, in Sao Paulo, Brazil beat Paraguayto end their dreams of qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2015. This could be payback time for the Paraguayans.
“The general standard has grown and there are no easy games in this tournament,” said Uruguay head coach Luis Pedro Achard who is hoping his side can book their place in a third consecutive RWC Sevens. “We were slow starting the tournament and played better against Brazil. Paraguay was a strong opponent.”
“We are here to win, again, the tournament and are taking solid steps to achieve this. Going to Moscow is very important for us as a nation. Winning the CONSUR 7s takes care of that and a place in Hong Kong.”
Los Pumas look to reclaim throne
In Pool B, as expected, Argentina was the strongest side, yet their closing game against Chile, needed an extra effort from the only team in the tournament already qualified for RWC 7s due to their second-placed finshed at the 2009 RWC Sevens in Dubai. Trailing 7-0 going into the sixth minute of the first half, their experience came through in the end, winning 24-7.
In all, they scored 19 tries in three matces. Eight in the 45-0 win against Ecuador (including a first-half hat-trick from speedster Agustín Migliore), seven against Peru in a 49-0 win and four against Chile.
“Players know they are playing for places in the Rugby World Cup squad and every game is a chance for them,” explained Argentine coach Andrés Romagnoli who is hoping to reclaim the South American throne. “We have to win this tournament.”
A place in the round robin is still up for grabs however on day two. If Colombia beat Argentina and Peru do likewise with Chile, then there will be a three-team tie and progression based on points differential.
The second day promises to be as hot as the first both on and off the pitch, with places for the round robin, a trophy, a place in Rugby World Cup Sevens and two tickets for Hong Kong with a chance to play in the qualifying round to next season’s HSBC World Series all at stake.
Day one results:
Brazil 40–0 Guatemala
Paraguay 24-12 Venezuela
Brazil 36-5 Venezuela
Uruguay 26-0 Guatemala
Uruguay 24-7 Brazil
Paraguay 41-5 Guatemala
Venezuela 26-5 Guatemala
Uruguay 17-10 Paraguay
Peru 33-7 Ecuador
Chile 31-0 Colombia
Colombia 19-15 Peru
Argentina 52-0 Ecuador
Chile 34-0 Ecuador
Argentina 49-0 Peru
Argentina 24-7 Chile
Day two fixtures:
Uruguay v Venezuela
Brazil v Paraguay
Colombia v Ecuador
Argentina v Colombia
Chile v Peru