There’s a new buzzword in the rugby fraternity of late, and that word is ‘Brazil’! From the land of endless sand, sea and sun comes a new boundless optimism that makes the Energiser Bunny look lame.
The Brazilian rugby team recently wowed the Twickenham crowds at the Middlesex Sevens, providing a flavour of what is to come in the next few years. The demonstrated that their footballing skills are just as sharp on a rugby pitch as they are on football pitch, scoring some outstanding tries that dazzled players and spectators alike.
But their national statistics fail to tell the real story. They are currently 28th in the World Rankings, nestled between Hong Kong and Moldova, but rising slowly and surely. Considering there are only 230 registered clubs and just over 10,000 players (out of a population of over 190 million) that’s pretty good going. They have a 100% record so far against their biggest rivals Argentina and Chile; although there is no doubt that one day they will finally win to dent this unbeaten streak.
But they have a secret weapon on their side. The 2016 Olympics, and more importantly, the inclusion of Rugby 7’s as an Olympic sport for the first time and they see this as an important stepping stone to developing this sport in the country and climbing the IRB ladder in the process.
They are a shrewd lot the Brazilians and they know it’s going to be extremely tough and that some of the disappointing results within the 15-a-side game recently speak for themselves. But I doubt that will stop them…