Happy new chap­ter for rugby in Mon­te­v­ideo

The Rugby Paper - - Guinness Pro14 -

SLIGHTLY to their frus­tra­tion, Old Chris­tians in Mon­te­v­ideo tend to al­ways be known for the Flight 571 dis­as­ter in 1972 when many play­ing mem­bers died af­ter their plane crashed in the An­des en route to a club game in Chile, an ex­tra­or­di­nary story that has been de­picted both on film and in var­i­ous books.

More re­cently, though, the club have been at the cen­tre of a heart­en­ing ex­pan­sion and im­prove­ment in Uruguayan rugby which gained a good deal of im­pe­tus from its in­volve­ment at RWC2015.

Last month Old Chris­tians won their third Uruguay club ti­tle on the trot when they de­feated Old Boys 23-11 at the Par­que Rivera. One of the try scor­ers, lock Jorge Zerbino, is the nephew of Gus­tavo Zerbino one of those who sur­vived the An­des crash.

Old Chris­tians then con­trib­uted no fewer than 17 play­ers to a ground-break­ing ex­tended na­tional train­ing camp ahead of a busy pe­riod for Los Tor­ros in the build-up to their vi­tal dou­ble header against Canada in the New year.

Those games will de­cide which of the two teams go into Pool D at RWC2019.

One of the more ex­cit­ing new stars spawned by Old Chris­tians is livewire No.9 San­ti­ago Arata, who has made an im­me­di­ate im­pact at se­nior level and pro­duced a fine per­for­mance last week when Los Tor­ros lost 38-33 to an Ar­gen­tinian XV.

Arata seems set to give Uruguay a real se­lec­tion poser, with the nor­mal first choice scrum-half Agustin Omaechea, now play­ing for Stade Mon­tois in France, also the side’s cap­tain.

Uruguay are cur­rently host­ing an ‘A’ team tour­na­ment in Mon­te­v­ideo with Samoa, USA, Tonga and Canada the visi­tors – a fi­nal trawl for tal­ent be­fore they com­plete prepa­ra­tions for the World Cup qual­i­fier with two Tests against Namibia in the Novem­ber.

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