Unique opportunity for Argentina's women
Argentina have a rare opportunity to test themselves against the world’s best sides this weekend in the Brazilian round of the IRB Women’s Sevens World Series and are determined to seize it with both hands.
A year has passed since they played on the Series and finished 11th in Houston, beating Trinidad & Tobago 25-5 in their final match after losses to South Africa, Canada, USA and South American rivals Brazil and plenty has happened in that time.
Not least the inclusion of the women’s players in the Uniόn Argentina de Rugby’s High Performance programme, which has allowed them to come together on a monthly basis for the last seven months and work on aspects they noticed were not on a par with other teams in Houston.
“Since last year, and based on what we experienced in the Houston tournament, we have tried to improve in several aspects,” explained coach Miguel Serό.
“In terms of lessons learned, we could highlight the organisational side and that we have to improve our physical condition because we noticed a lot of difference with other teams.
“For this tournament we have tried to prepare as best as we possibly can.
Learning from the best
“The inclusion of players within the UAR High Performance programme gave us the possibility of achieving an improvement in physical condition, which has been reflected in a great improvement in the technical side and understanding of the game.”
Training under the same structures as the Argentina men’s Sevens teams has resulted in “vast improvements” which have given the players “great motivation to train harder” according to captain Noelia Billerbeck.
“Our goal is to continue adding experience and continue to grow as a team,” insisted Billerbeck.
For Serό, the opportunity to learn from the top teams is one he is determined to make the most of in order to ensure the team continues to develop in what is now one of the world’s fastest growing sports.
“The main objective from this tournament is to absorb and maximise the different situations that will present at the event and to make a good diagnosis of how our level compares to the other countries,” explained Serό.
“It is clearly very important for us to play on the Series. We believe that every sport has three main parts to develop – training, competition and to spread rugby all over with the help of the media.
South American pride
“Being able to compete with the best in the world is for us an unique opportunity that we will take full advantage of as most of all we want to learn from these great powers.”
The fact that this year they will play on the Series in their own region is not lost on either Serό or Billerbeck with the presence of the Brazilian women at every tournament this season also providing an inspiration to their Argentine counterparts.
“There’s no doubt for South America there is a real pride to have the circuit being held in Brazil,” said Serό. “We can take that as an example and believe that in the future this may be done in another South American country.
“All South American countries see Brazil as a role model in the women’s Game.”
Billerbeck added: “Brazil is a great exponent at South American level and having a tournament there will be very motivational for women’s rugby in the region. It is nice to see a South American country participating in the World Series and it inspires us to work hard to be in that place.”