Thursday 27 November 2014

Argentina Diary: Pumas want to see more capital gains

Published 05/06/2014 | 02:30

Simon Zebo

Ireland depart for the northern outpost of Resistencia this afternoon after three nights in the capital Buenos Aires.

Catching up with some local rugby enthusiasts over the last few days, one thing is abundantly clear: the city dwellers are not happy with their union.

Since Ireland visited Buenos Aires in June 2007, just three of the Pumas' 23 Tests have been held in the capital, which has yet to host a Rugby Championship match and is not scheduled to be used before next year's World Cup.

Playing a Test match in Chaco has been compared to Ireland hosting Argentina in Mullingar this week, with the official reason from the local union being they want to bring the World Cup to South America in 2023.

With Ireland also hoping to bid for that tournament, perhaps it is time for the IRFU to take their show on the road.

On second thoughts, it might be a while before we see the Springboks in Pairc ui Chaoimh, the Wallabies in Fitzgerald Stadium and England brought back to Croke Park.

A Devin sent gift to Meath football?

Continuing with the GAA theme, events on Monday would indicate that Meath have a rough diamond in their mix.

After training at the Buenos Aires hurling club, the oval balls were dispensed with and some of the Irish players picked up the hurl and sliotar for a puck around.

Cork's Simon Zebo, Limerick's Conor Murray and Dubliner Noel Reid were the most comfortable with the small ball, while those from non-hurling counties somewhat stereotypically picked up the O'Neill's ball and got to soloing.

While we were well aware of Rob Kearney's prowess from his days at Cooley Kickhams, there were others who stood out; not least Meath-born Devin Toner, whose size, reach and soft hands could wreak havoc on the edge of the square.

Every ball within a metre and a half diameter was made the second-row's and he looked fairly nifty with his distribution too.

Given professional rugby players are in vogue this summer in the wake of Gavin Duffy's switch to Mayo, Royals boss Mick O'Dowd could do worse than pick up the phone.

Quote of the day

"It shows how rugby is bringing the country together. That for me is very special and it's just amazing to be part of something like that."

Chris Henry was impressed by Paul O'Connell taking time out to attend the reception at Stormont to celebrate the Six Nations win.

Number of the day

8

Argentina's position on the world ranking table, three below Ireland, whose Six Nations win has them up in fifth.

Irish Independent

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