Rodrigo Capó Ortega is to return for the Rugby World Cup Qualifiers vs Canada. The two countries are to square-off in a home-and-away series on January 27 and February 03 with the winner qualifying for Japan 2019 as Americas 2.
Talking on El Show de Rugby, Capó Ortega declared:
“I would like to have one final go in Los Teros.”
On another interview from the same program the Unión de Rugby del Uruguay (URU) President Sebastián Piñeyrua stated that:
“I have no doubt that Rodrigo Capó will be involved in the RWC elimination qualifiers against Canada.”
Capó Ortega is arguably the greatest Uruguayan player of all time. Turning 37 this month he is into the twilight of his career though he continues to perform at the elite level with tremendous success. As the club captain of Castres he is head of one of France’s most notable clubs.
In 2013 and 2014 he appeared in the Top 14 final for Castres. On both occasions the opposition was Toulon. Castres were the French champions in 2013 with Capó Ortega starting the match in the second-row. Remarkably he has been at the club since 2002.
His most recent match for Uruguay was in 2014. It was in the second of two Rugby World Cup 2015 repechage qualifiers against Russia. The win saw Uruguay returning to the World Cup after a twelve year absence. Capó Ortega himself would miss out on playing in England and Wales due to family commitments.
Back in 2003 he played in Australia 2003. He started in all four pool matches, scoring a try against Samoa and putting in a ferocious tackle on tournament winner Lawrence Dallaglio.
Canada are to have home advantage first up. They will be looking for a strong turn-out at BC Place. Yet based on results from both sides, and form in general, Canada is not presently sufficiently positioned to be considered favorites.
Americas 2 is to be determined on aggregate. The teams go into the series very evenly matched. On the one hand Canada has history on its side while Uruguay has greater collectivity.
Canada is to be without center Ciaran Hearn who has undergone knee surgery this week. Fly half Shane O’Leary may be fit for game two in Montevideo but appears out of the opening fixture. Fullback Matt Evans remains sidelined with a knee injury, Conor Trainor is almost certainly out with his achilles, while Andrew Coe is mending a broken arm.
Adjustments from the November Internationals are certain. Sources indicate that Connor Braid will likely be recalled from the 7’s team to play at outside center and Phil Mack will continue as scrum-half and captain. Jeff Hassler, Taylor Paris and DTH van der Merwe are expected to all feature.
Canada’s speed and skills out wide cannot be denied. Though what about fly half and goal-kicking? In these areas Canada has a significant problem to resolve. Uruguay, in contrast have Felipe Berchesi, Federico Favaro and Juan Manuel Cat. All three have been highly reliable for Los Teros in 2017.
Uruguay’s Possible Line-up
Capó Ortega could perceivably form a second-row combination with a number of players. Ignacio Dotti, Diego Ayala and Diego Magno are all experienced. But it is Oyonnax’s Manuel Leindekar who looms as the likely partner to lock the scrum. This would be a genuinely formidable combination.
Mateo Sanguinetti and Mario Sagario are the odds-on favorites to be the starting props. Carlos Arboleya, Germán Kessler and Martín Espiga are the candidates for hooker.
The remainder of the forward pack is also healthy. Juan Manuel Gaminara and Alejandro Nieto are likely to play 6 and 8. One of Franco Lammana, Gonzalo Soto or Rodolfo Garese will potentially complete the back-row trio.
In the backs Santiago Arata and Felipe Berchesi are the probable halves combination. Vastly improved depth means Agustín Ormaechea and either Germán Albanell or Rodrigo Silva will be their replacements.
Centers Andrés Vilaseca and Jaguar Nicolás Freitas were impressive against Namibia. They are likely to retain their spots with Gastón Mieres, Federico Favaro and Gastón Gilbernau potentially playing in the back-three.