Uruguay not fearing their ‘Pool of Death’
When things go heavily against you a sense of humour comes in useful and Uruguay head coach Pablo Lemoine can afford to have a chuckle at the quality in his side’s World Cup Pool.
With the likes of Australia, England, Wales and even Fiji dwarfing the South Americans in terms of quality some have even forgotten they are in Pool A.
And in fairness, although they may prove to be the whipping boys of Pool A, the mere fact they qualified for the tournament is already a big achievement for the Teros.
Their coach Lemoine, who was a rugged prop, is a veteran of Uruguay’s first World Cup appearance in 1999 before he appeared again in the sky blue in 2003, touching down against Sir Clive Woodward’s England.
And the 40-year old, who made 49 Caps for the Teros, has squashed any claims his side will dread facing their tough upcoming opposition: “People will think we will be scared to be in the group, but we never feel fear. Otherwise, Uruguay can’t exist at this level,” insisted Lemoine.
“It is a fantastic opportunity we are happy to be in this group of death. We never get to play England, Wales or Australia in a year, let alone all three in the space of a few weeks.
“We start against Wales in the Millennium Stadium. I mean, we could hardly ask for more could we? We will enjoy that moment as much as the Welsh players, maybe more.
“Some countries have much better players, they are bigger, and they have more money,’ added the former prop. ‘But we have beaten them because we are stronger inside.
“We feel that connection to our country, and we have had to fight for everything.
“Football is the same in Uruguay. Unlike in Europe, we have a poor league, the facilities are limited and players start with nothing. And yet they can compete at the World Cup and players like Luis Suarez are at some of the world’s biggest clubs.
“That’s because they play with their hearts and work so hard for their families and country.”
Now Lemoine, with a team built the majority of non-professionals, faces the almost impossible task of knocking them into shape to compete against some of World Rugby’s finest players. They kick off their tournament against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on September 20th.