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Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 20:56 GMT
Argentina's time in the sun
Sevens rugby has embraced the globe
Sevens rugby has embraced the globe
By BBC Sport's Ian Robertson

Argentina may not have been the obvious choice of venue for the third World Sevens Tournament, but the International Rugby Board are right to spread rugby's global message.

The first World Sevens was held in Scotland at Murrayfield in 1993; as the game of sevens was conceived in the borders of Scotland this was a logical choice.

The second World Sevens was held in 1997 in Hong Kong, and as the colony had hosted the biggest and best Sevens competitions every year in the preceding 20 years, this decision was also greeted with general approval.

The Pumas have fashioned an impressive record
The Pumas have fashioned an impressive record
Argentina is unquestionably a country fully capable of hosting a major sporting occasion as they have proved with the soccer World Cup.

Indeed, soccer is the number one sport in the country although the Argentineans have a long and distinguished tradition in Rugby Union.

Back in the late 1960s the four home unions began tours to Argentina, and after Wales struggled in both Tests in Buenos Aires in 1967 it soon became evident they were going to be very hard to beat at home.

Scotland became their next victims when the Pumas, as the national team is known, won the first Test in 1968.

The Scots won the second Test two weeks later, but it was a desperately close affair.

The Pumas have continued to make good progress and they have played in all the World Cups at both 15-a-side and 7-a-side.

They now have regular fixtures against all four home unions and they also enjoy visits every two or three years from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

Doddie Weir played for Scotland in 1993
Doddie Weir played for Scotland in 1993
They have long been regarded as the strongest side in the Americas having always been far and away the best of the South American sides, and almost always they have proved superior to either Canada or America

On the other hand they have never excelled at Sevens and both America and Canada have made a real impact in recent years in the various Sevens tournaments around the world.

The conditions this week will suit the Southern Hemisphere sides. It is the middle of the summer in Mar del Plata which is the seaside resort south of Buenos Aires.

Players will be spared playing in the heat of the day with matches played in the afternoon and evening through to midnight every night to make things more comfortable.

For one wonderful long weekend all rugby roads will lead to Mar del Plata for three days of fast furious action.

At the end of 78 matches it is probable that Fiji, New Zealand or Australia will emerge as the 2001 World Sevens Champions.

Everything is set for a great extravaganza where all 24 teams will have their moment of glory and the large holiday crowd will have a weekend to remember.

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See also:

24 Jan 01 |  Rugby Union
Sevens set for showdown
17 Jan 01 |  Heineken Cup
Wasps fuming over Sevens selection
11 Jan 01 |  Rugby Union
Fiji hoping to defend sevens title
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