Uruguay: nestled between Argentina, who are snapping at the heels of the big guns in international rugby, and Brazil, a country pre-occupied with football.
This country beat out Russia to claim the final spot at this year’s Rugby World Cup, and plan to make the most of their opportunity to play against the best in the world.
1. Not The Worst
This is Uruguay’s third appearance in a world cup, and despite being a minnow of the minnows, they have won at least one game in the pool stages of each tournament.
They placed 13th after beating Spain in 1999 and 16th after a well-deserved win against Georgia in 2003. Look out Fiji, you might be next.
The are ranked 19th in the world ahead of Namibia, so they’re not quite the worst team there…
2. They are ‘Alive’
Too soon? Unfortunately Uruguayan Rugby is best known for being involved in the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 back in 1972, and subsequent films and books about the event.
If you’ve forgotten, it’s the plane crash where the survivors ate the dead passengers to stay alive.
At Uruguay’s first World Cup appearance in 1999, the squad were pestered by the international media about the incident, who were desperate to find some relevance for a largely unknown rugby nation.
Sadly, it is likely the Uruguayan team will be eaten alive having drawn the very short straw in the ‘Pool of Death.’
3. The Right Attitude
Being matched up against Australia, England, and Wales in Pool A isn’t considered a negative by the team or their coaching staff.
Coach Pablo Lemoine stated in a recent interview: “we are playing three of the top five in the world and for that reason for us it is not the group of death, it is the group of hope.”
Well we all knew South Americans were patriotic but this one takes the cake. Has Lemoine been watching Mighty Ducks or something? The Group of Hope; as if each team in that pool is fighting for their civil rights as a country. As if Wales is playing for the injured, England for colonisation, and Australia for the fans of cricket. Ahh the power of rugby!
He was somewhat more realistic with his other statements though stating: “every group at the Rugby World Cup would be difficult for us. But to play against England, Australia and Wales in one month – it will probably never happen again for us.”
Its called the Pool of Death for a reason. They will die. Nay, they will be slaughtered. Their world ranking of 19 will shine true as they finish 19th in the tournament (only on points differential). The only way we can see them getting a win is if Fiji spends a night out on the lash and turns up with 11 men.