World Cup starts down Mexico way

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 00:00
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The road to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England will start not in one of the sport's heartlands but in the unlikely setting of Mexico City on Saturday.

The road to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England will start not in one of the sport's heartlands but in the unlikely setting of Mexico City on Saturday.

There Mexico, best known in sporting terms for football, will face Jamaica, the Caribbean island that has produced a succession of gifted West Indies cricketers, in the first of 184 matches that will yield just eight qualifiers to play alongside rugby's 'big boys' in three years' time.

Saturday's match may be far removed from the sight of New Zealand beating France in last year's World Cup Final on home soil in Auckland, but the games do have some things in common - they will both be refereed by South Africa's Craig Joubert and the Webb Ellis Trophy will be in attendance as well.

And, unlike last year's Final, both Mexico and Jamaica will have their match shirts presented to them on Friday by a World Cup winner in Lawrence Dallaglio, a member of England's victorious 2003 team.

But while playing at Dallaglio's old stamping ground of Twickenham in 2015 may be a goal beyond both this weekend's teams, for Mexico, who only became a full member of the IRB in 2006, the qualification campaign is part of a wider plan for developing the game in the Central American nation.

"This year the plan is to try and to get to the final of NACRA (North America Caribbean Rugby Association)," explained Simon Pierre, Mexico's New Zealand-born coach, who also plays at No. 8, in an IRB statement.

"Of course we would love to win (that) competition but it's a process that always takes time," added Pierre, who arrived in Mexico in 2008 aiming to stay for just six months before moving to Europe but who is now, after stints coaching the Under-19s and Sevens national sides, in charge of the senior team.

"We're now into the second year of the process. It's just a case of getting the skill levels up," he explained.

Tom Jones, the IRB's regional general manager for North America and the Caribbean believes that in years to come Mexico, like Argentina, could become a significant rugby force.

"It is going to be one of the bigger unions because of what they're doing and the potential size of it," he said.

"Mexico are favourites for this first game, but I think it will be close. Mexico have only started to grow the way the IRB wants it to - we call it a major market investment - very recently.

"Five years ago, there were only half a dozen clubs playing in Mexico City. Now, they have 100 clubs around the country. But it still takes a long time to build a national team, and there are a lot of challenges to it that USA and Canada have been dealing with for 100 years.

"Mexico will emerge as the strongest union in the region eventually, but nothing happens all that quickly," he said.

AFP

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Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
WORLD CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2
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