OpinionTuesday, April 29, 2014
The dream final match
Two are left but by Saturday, after around 5pm, only one will be able to claim they are the best in the country. The renewed Campeonato Nacional de Clubes comes to an end with the two best teams playing a dream final.
CUBA, last years Buenos Aires Rugby Union champion, continues to trail the set in 2013 and continues to show that hunger that gave them the tournament that had eluded them since 1967. In Saturday’s semifinal against Jockey Club de Rosario they were clearly the best team on the field. Their failure to reach this game unbeaten was down to a loss in the last game of the round robin pool stage after they had secured their place in the top four. Rotating their squad was a good choice.
They play an attractive style of rugby; they know what they want to do and how to do it with players able to do it. Matías Moroni at centre shows he is a different player while forward Tomás de la Vega leads a pack that combines strength and finesse. They are only two of a very solid team that, players hope, will be able to play the final at home.
Herein is the issue: CUBA has forever denied the access to sponsors at their club. A centenary club very solid in its structure and financing — it’s a multisport club with thousands of members who sustain the individual sport — they are the only club in Buenos Aires that does not charge either parking nor entry fees when they play at home in Villa de Mayo. The right to play at home is there and there have been meetings to try and convince the older statesmen to allow organizers Unión Argentina de Rugby to bring their sponsors.
There is a ray of hope, they say in CUBA, which would change years of being independent from sponsors to play this huge game at home. If they don’t change their position, the final will then be in CASI. This is something that will be sorted out in the next few hours, or might have already been sorted out.
Wherever the final is played, it won’t change for three-time Nacional de Clubes Duendes. A regular finalist this will be their sixth. They have clearly been the best club outside of Buenos Aires for a few years now and are now willing to prove themselves again.
A club with very good rugby people, it is not the biggest in Rosario, but their spirit is second to none and with oval minds such as José Luis Imhoff, the Bouza brothers, Aspirina Pérez, Tato Pérez or Gastón Conde among the best known, they have managed to forge a personality and aura that has placed them regularly among the best in Rosario, their region and the country.
Founded in 1957, when you walk through the gates at the barrio Las Delicias, it is more than anything a family club. This helps to understand how they play for each other. Even if they did not score tries against Hindú on Saturday, they were fair winners. Now they tackle CUBA in a final that, with no doubt, will give the winner the bragging right for the rest of the year.