The Americas Rugby Championship: When too much rugby isn’t enough

Shop Roar Guru

By Shop, Shop is a Roar Guru

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    When I last lived in Sydney, my typical Saturday involved coaching an under-13 team in the morning, playing about noon, then refereeing a game after that.

    The rest of the day I spent watching my club teams, then it was back to the pub for speeches, boat races and watching either Super Rugby or Test matches.

    Our club secretary told me “too much rugby is never enough”. I concurred.

    I now live in Argentina, where this year there has been a revolution of rugby on TV. The Six Nations and Rugby Championship Tests have always been shown, usually along with one Super Rugby game as well as select Top 14 and European Cup.

    Not bad, but last weekend rugby was in overdrive!

    All the Super games were shown – not all live, but I recorded them. The Brumbies and Blues were both impressive, but the introduction of the Jaguares was spectacular. Their first was drama-filled, featured scintillating tries and climaxed with a fight-back, one-point win.

    Plenty of casual observers in this round-ball-crazy nation surely took notice. The sheer pace of the game was awesome, and although doubts remain about the format, the standard of rugby was top shelf.

    The Sunwolves were valiant in defeat, and the crowd was clearly appreciative to have Super Rugby in their backyard.

    Next was the Six Nations. I didn’t see Wales versus France, but by all reports I didn’t miss much. Italy, as always, were good in patches and scored a great try, but never really looked like beating Scotland. The England versus Ireland game was the best of the Northern Hemisphere games. England will be a handful in June, however they are all playing behind the times up north.

    But the biggest result of the weekend went largely unnoticed.

    Brazil kicked a penalty in the last play of the game to beat (an admittedly understrength) USA. John Mitchell, the USA coach, will not underestimate Brazil again, as it may have cost them the championship.

    This game was part of an excellent new addition to the rugby calendar named the Americas Rugby Championship. Uruguay, Canada, Chile and an Argentine XV are also involved.

    It is a similar format to the Six Nations in that each team plays each other once, and will give these countries some much-needed Test experience and cohesion, which is often lacking in lower-tier sides because they don’t spend much time together.

    It also gives fanatics something else to look forward to, even when there is more than enough rugby on the box.

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    The Crowd Says (61)

    • Roar Guru

      March 3rd 2016 @ 12:47pm
      Machooka said | March 3rd 2016 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

      Great read Shop… and happy to hear you’re now, for want of a better description, connected.

      And yes… in your part of the woods a very big win for Brazil over that powerhouse USA Rugby. I only really knew about ’cause of Carlos the Argie was bouncing this info around on all different threads here on the Roar.

      Hey, it wouldn’t be the first time John Mitchell has underestimated an opposition eh?

      • Roar Guru

        March 4th 2016 @ 1:52am
        Shop said | March 4th 2016 @ 1:52am | ! Report

        Thanks Chook, I wasn’t intending on having a dig at Mitchell but looks like you’ve done that anyway!

    • March 3rd 2016 @ 1:23pm
      ClarkeG said | March 3rd 2016 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

      Refreshing to see new nations emerging. The Brazilians were quite excited to have won that match against USA.

      Good tournament for Argentina as well where upcoming players have the opportunity to gain experience.

    • March 3rd 2016 @ 1:55pm
      Onside said | March 3rd 2016 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

      And this in Nations where football totally dominates.

      • Roar Guru

        March 4th 2016 @ 1:57am
        Shop said | March 4th 2016 @ 1:57am | ! Report

        True, unlike other places South America don’t try to compete with soccer. Everyone who is interested in rugby will also follow football to some extent. However, with the lack of other codes and sports (RL, AFL, NFL, cricket) it is seen as a very popular second sport to many. This makes the natural competition sports such as basketball, volleyball and individual sports like tennis.

        Rugby has definitely massive potential on this continent.

    • March 3rd 2016 @ 2:58pm
      Daniel said | March 3rd 2016 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

      I’ve read elsewhere that Brazilian Rugby has experienced quite healthy growth over the past decade, thanks in no small part to the heavy involvement of a lot of Kiwi Rugby people.

      Seeing them beat the USA is a very promising sign and I’m excited to see how they develop into the future – if they could become another Argentina it would be fantastic, as those two countries already have strong rivalries in soccer so it could compliment that.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 5th 2016 @ 1:22pm
        Sharminator said | March 5th 2016 @ 1:22pm | ! Report

        Not sure where your information comes from, but the only Kiwi involvement in Brazillian rugby was a coaching arrangement with Cantebury for two years years, where various Canterbury coaches were rotated to came and coach in Brazil for a 3 or 6 month spells, and Tabai Matson was the Brazillian national coach.

        The arrangement was meant to be for 5 years, but it was terminated after Brasil lost to Paraguay for the first time in 10 years in 2014.

        Brasil now have an Argentinian coach, Argentinian CEO of Brazillian Rugby, and develiopment arrangements with the Argentine UAR and World Rugby.

        As they are holding the Olympics Brazil have automatic places in both the Mens and Womens 7s … their Womens 7s teams is the best on the continent anyway .. but their Mens team is usually 4th behind Argenina, Uruguay and Chile. The Olympic places have unlocked governement funding for rugby.

        The CBRU (Brazillian Rugby Union) has also been very successful in gaining sponsorship and commercial support for rugby, thanks in large part to the President of the CBRU who is a millionaire himself.

        In 2011 the funding for the Tupis (Mens and Womens 7s and mens XVs) was 900 000 reales, or around 300 000 Australian dollars.

        In 2015 the funding for the Tupis es 18 000 000 reales, or around 6.5 million Australian dollars … a 22 fold increase, which has allowed every Brazillian state to have high performance centres.

        This change has been reflected in the make up of the national team .. in 2011 almost the entire Brazillian team was from one club Sao Jose de Campos, with a few other players thrown in … today the squad for the Americas Rugby Championship comes from 18 different clubs.

    • March 3rd 2016 @ 3:11pm
      Working Class Rugger said | March 3rd 2016 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

      Brazil have steadily grown into the ARC proving very competitive in general particularly at home. While many could point out that much of the Eagles squad was experimental and new to Test Rugby they still underestimated their Brazilian counterparts. Evidently, the game and the win began trending on social meida in Brazil in the aftermath.

      A lot of really good things happening in Brazil and South America. Colombia is really driving internal growth having gone from 3,000 juniors 5 years ago to just over 16,000 last year. Rugby Paras Todos (I’ve likely stuffed that up but in English it should translate to ‘Rugby for All’) is actively petitioning the Chilean Govt. For it to be added to the curriculum nationwide.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 5th 2016 @ 1:37pm
        Sharminator said | March 5th 2016 @ 1:37pm | ! Report

        The key to the Americas Rugby Championship being held was the support of Brazillian pay tv …

        Brazil nearly beat Chile in the first round, they were hammering the Chilean line in the last minutes of the game, and looked set to score a try until a knock on. They were also beating Uruguay until a 76th minute Uruguayan try.

        Ex Gordon, Manly and West Harbour player David Harvey was the Brazillian fly half in both games. They also have a few Argentinian and French players with Brazillian links.

        Brazil was included in the ARC, at the expense of Paraguay, who until last weekend were situated 5 places above Brazil 37th in the World Rugby Rankings, while Brazil sat in 42 .. having lost to Paraguay the last two years. Brazil have now moved up to 38th.

        Obviously this decision was controversial where I live, in Paraguay, as Brazil were included on non sporting merits, and we beat them in the Sudamericano championships in both 2015 and 2015.

        The point was that ESPN iin the US and Canada agreed to televise home games in North America, and ESPN Argentina (which covers rugby and also shares its rugby coverage with Uruguay and Chile) agreed to televise matches involving Argentina.

        Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile are much smaller countries with smaller pay tv services … however bringing in Brazil saw ESPN Brazil agree to televise Brazil home games … with ESPN Brazils huge tv audience bringing in extra tv rights money which basically paid for the tournament to take place.

        • March 6th 2016 @ 1:42pm
          Shop said | March 6th 2016 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

          Do you live on Paraguay?

          • Roar Rookie

            March 7th 2016 @ 11:51am
            Sharminator said | March 7th 2016 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Yep, live in Paraguay and played more than 20 games for the Paraguayan Senior mens rugby team.

    • March 3rd 2016 @ 4:04pm
      TB said | March 3rd 2016 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

      seems the Argies and NZ are running virtual 2nd XV sides against tier 2 nations

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