April 20, 2014
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

No more a winter sport

By Frankie Deges
Rugby column

The engulfing heat that makes our every day lives hard and sweaty, make rugby an impossible sport — fact is, with these high temperatures, any sport is hard to practice. While the oval world is trying to find ways to unify an international calendar, it is clear that this is a very hard task.

Rugby, in its essence is a winter sport. Thanks to the amazing growth and globalization its season has grown way beyond what was one day imaginable. Taking into account that this past weekend the National Provincial Sevens (Seven de la República) was played by every provincial union and that the National Club Championship kicks off in March, there isn’t much down time for players.

Top level club players — we are not taking here about players in national or provincial High Performance Plans — no longer take long summer breaks; maybe a couple of weeks of before they are back at training. Clubs no longer close their doors in summer; those with gymnasiums know that they will be busy with players preparing for the season ahead.

Despite all this physical training, it is impossible to play fifteens rugby under this very warm weather. Sevens takes over.

This is one of the many reasons why when people were hoping that Los Pumas might enter an enlarged Six Nations – way before The Rugby Championship came to reality — it was hard to believe it could happen. How could a European team fly down to Argentina in the middle of winter to play a game in the middle of our summer? Comparing yesterday’s temperatures in Edinburgh and Buenos Aires — when it is still Autumn and Spring — there were 35 degrees difference. It gets much worse in February.

Despite these high temperatures, there will be rugby played this weekend in our country. Fortunately, heat won’t be an issue. Weather could be, though, as the End of the World Sevens that has been played every year for the past 27 seasons in Ushuaia in December has at times been played under rain and even snow.

Played in two fields of the oldest rugby club in the Tierra del Fuego province, next to the loud Pipo River, this rugby event is another reason to visit a great tourist destination.

These Ushuaia Rugby Club fields have seen some great players. Now they are in an adequate state; a few years ago players needed extra doses of courage to go into contact with the gravel pitch. Despite this, players such as Agustín Pichot, Marcelo Bosch or Argentina’s fines ever sevens player Santiago Gómez Cora cut their knees there.

Another key area in which Ushuaia has always worked hard in was in ensuring the best referees are involved; Federico Anselmi, who three weekends ago refereed the final of the Dubai International Sevens, will be in Ushuaia.

One of the pleasures of this tournament, for those who come from the heat, will be to fight the colder temperatures, even if it is for a couple of days. Truth is, the warmth that is most important here is the one that is generated by everybody at a tournament that has become a real trademark: the Seven del Fin del Mundo.

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