Happy new chapter for rugby in Montevideo
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.