Los Teros are learning fast but more needs to be done to unleash the tier two nation’s potential, according to the Wales sevens manager
MILTON KEYNES – The Uruguay team have made a big impression in two matches at Rugby World Cup 2015 and raised the flag for the sport back home, according to Wales sevens manager Dai Jenkins.
“The team have had a great performance and improved a lot, and they should be very proud of what they have achieved,” Jenkins said after spending a day with the team training in Northampton ahead of their Pool A match against Fiji at Stadium MK on Tuesday.
“Uruguay were beating Wales for 22 minutes, it was a fantastic performance. They only conceded 12 penalties to Wales and 12 to Australia, six of which were from the scrum,” he said.
“The last two weeks have shown that they can compete in the most competitive series of the RWC,” he said. Wing Franciso Bulanti was unable to hide his pride of playing for Uruguay before the 54-9 defeat to Wales in Cardiff on 20 September. They also lost 65-3 to Australia on 27 September at Villa Park.
SPEED OF LEARNING
But Jenkins said: “The team’s physical preparation is exceptional, and the players’ ability and their knowledge of the game, and how to react in contact, is excellent.
“They have taken giant steps in the tournament, the players’ physical condition and the speed of their learning is an example of the brilliant things that could come in the future.”
Jenkins, who managed the Wales team that won the 2009 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Dubai, acknowledged there are many things to improve, but that the players and staff have a great capacity for learning.
“Those improvements could come in just one year, and once they have made them, Uruguay will be a very competitive tier two team against almost all of their rivals at that level,” he said.
He highlighted the need to invest in technology, as well as trained personnel in order to carry out video analysis of Uruguay’s game.
“They have to see the elite performance system across the board, so that all areas of their game evolve in the same way. The most important thing today, and where they can make great gains, is in analysis, which could achieve a 20 per cent improvement.”
He underscored the importance of creating a high-performance training system in Uruguay.
“Each country is getting better, they are being advised by experts in different areas, allowing them to make the improvements they need. Uruguay needs to become a tier two team. There are excellent people working in Uruguay and there is a big advance in performance.”
Jenkins said Uruguay also needs more professional players abroad, and for its U-20 team to play at higher levels.
“The older team needs six or seven players that come from the U-20 each year to feed and sustain the system. That is very important. And Uruguayan semi-professional rugby needs to produce players.
RAISE THE BAR
“The professionals need to raise the bar, but the Uruguayan high-performance system needs to be developed. It is fundamental for any country, above all when modern rugby demands more and more players due to injuries.”
On the goals for Los Teros over the next four years, he said the aim is to compete at the top level of tier two.
“There are very good countries in there and they are getting close to tier one. We are seeing that in the RWC and Japan is the clearest example by beating South Africa. Uruguay can compete, if they improve in all areas, in coaching, in the foundations of each player, in talent development, in leadership of the team,” he said.
Source: World Rugby