Pumas set to return to Mendoza
August 27, 2012
The Pumas are set to call the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas their Rugby Championship home for the near future © Getty Images
The Estadio Malvinas Argentinas that played host to the Pumas' historic draw with South Africa on Saturday is set to be the side's Rugby Championship home for the foreseeable future.
Argentina celebrated their home debut in The Rugby Championship with a hard-fought 16-16 draw with the Springboks having led 13-3 at half-time.
It now means that Argentina has achieved at least a draw with each of their rivals for the new-look southern hemisphere crown with their result against the Boks joining their legendary 21-21 draw with the All Blacks in Buenos Aires in 1985. Argentina have beaten the Wallabies on four occasions, in 1979 (their first meeting), 1983, 1987 and 1997.
It was the eighth visit by the Springboks to Argentina, but their first Test outside of Buenos Aires, and for the locals of Mendoza, it is likely that the near 50,000 screaming supporters will again get to taste action in The Rugby Championship.
Luis Castillo, president of the Union Argentina de Rugby (UAR) said it was highly likely that Mendoza would host matches in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
"Mendoza will likely remain headquarters for Argentinean matches in The Rugby Championship in the next two years," he said. "Speaking with the local governor (of Mendoza), talks are advanced, although not yet with the other venues, as Rosario and La Plata, where we still need to talk."
"This match in Mendoza completely filled high expectations, but there are always things to improve and learn, but I can tell you that the public were surprised and amazed."
"Mendoza is a province that offers much. The intention is to keep the tournament here…because there is also a very important affinity between Mendoza, Cape Town and South Africa."
It was a packed house in Mendoza, with locals and visitors alike mingling in a raucous atmosphere, where many from Buenos Aires had made the drive along the Ruta Nacional 7 Carretera Libertador General San Martín to watch their team play.
SANZAR CEO Greg Peters said that the anthems set the tone for a match and he wasn't shocked by the result. "It was a fantastic day," Peters said. "People were very warm and gave us a great reception.
"It was a fantastic occasion for the UAR, Los Pumas and Southern Hemisphere rugby, and they proved what the SANZAR countries knew, that they would be formidable opposition at home."
"The Pumas also took a step up, showing in just their second match they deserve to be in our preeminent international tournament - The Rugby Championship."
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