- Portugal national rugby union team
imagesize = 80px
union = Federação Portuguesa de Rugby
nickname = Os Lobos (The Wolves)
coach = flagicon|Portugal
from = 2001
top scorer =
leftarm1 = CE1126
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rightarm1 = CE1126
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first = ru|POR 5 - 6 ru-rt|ESP|1931
bigwin = ru|POR 55 - 11 ru-rt|NED
bigloss = ru|NZL 108 - 13 ru-rt|POR
World cup apps = 1
year = 2007
best = No games won, one bonus pointThe Portugal national rugby union team, nicknamed "Os Lobos," Portuguese for "the wolves", is a third tier
rugby unionside representing Portugal. They first played in 1935 and now compete in the European Nations Cup. Rugby union in Portugal is administered by the Federação Portuguesa de Rugby. Portugal qualified for their first Rugby World Cupin 2007. Portugal was in Pool C along with the All Blacks(New Zealand), Italy, Romania and Scotland.
Portugal have experienced unprecedented success in recent years. They were surprise winners of the 2003-4 European Nations Cup and have continued to record impressive results, although they could only finish third in the 2005-6 event. The
IRB Sevens World Seriescircuit has allowed the Portuguese players to demonstrate their competence to the wider rugby world. In 2006-7 Portugal will compete at every IRB sevens event for the first time. They have become an established power in the abbreviated form of the game.
Portugal played their first ever rugby international in April 1935 against Spain. Portugal lost the game by one point, 5 to 6. They played Spain again the following year with Spain winning 16 to 9. Portugal had more regular competition from the mid-1960s, and won their first game in 1966, defeating Spain 9 to 3. Portugal played Italy for the first time in 1967, losing 6-3. They also had their first match against Romania soon after and lost by 40 points. They defeated Belgium in 1968, and also played Morocco for the first time.Portugal were the best side until Ireland beat them 132-0 in the Algarve (Portugal).
The first game of 1970s turned out to be a draw against the Netherlands. Portugal managed to draw with Italy (nil all) in 1972 and following that, defeated them 9-6 in 1973. After a number of mixed results throughout the early 1970s, Portugal won five matches in a row from 1979 through to 1981. They played Morocco, who won the encounter. After a 1983 draw against Spain, Portugal managed a seven game winning streak from 1984 to 1985, including wins over Belgium, Denmark, Morocco, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Zimbabwe. The first
Rugby World Cupwas held in 1987, though it was by invitation, thus there was no qualifying tournament.
From 1989 to 1990, the 1991 World Cup qualifiers were held for the European nations. Portugal started in Round 2b in October 1989. They defeated Czechoslovakia 15 to 13 in Ricant to advance to Round 2c. However here they were defeated by the Netherlands 32 to 3 and eliminated from qualifying. Portugal again participated in the 1995 World Cup qualifying competition for European teams, starting in Round 1. They were pooled in the West Group, and defeated Belgium and Switzerland, but lost to Spain, advancing into Round 2. Here Wales defeated them, and they lost to Spain.
Portugal began play in Pool 3 of Round B in the European qualifying competition for the
1999 Rugby World Cup. Portugal won all their group matches except for the one against Spain, but still finished second in the group, which took them into Pool 3 of Round C. All games were held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Portugal lost 85-11 to Scotland, and 21-17 to Spain. Both nations went through to the World Cup and Portugal went into repechage. Here Portugal lost a home and away series to Uruguay.
In 2002 Portugal began playing for a place in the
2003 Rugby World Cupin Pool A of Round 3 of the European qualifying tournament. They were grouped with Spain and Poland. Each nation only won one game, though on for and against Portugal finished second to Spain. Portugal were knocked out of competition. In 2003-04 Portugal won the European Nations Cup, losing only one match to win their first championship. In 2004 Professor Tomaz Morais, coach of the Portuguese national team at both sevens and fifteen aside, was nominated for the IRB's coach of the year award. This was a remarkable achievement for a coach from a third tier rugby nation. Morais has been credited with much of Portugal's progress in recent years.
In 2006 it was announced that Portugal would receive a grant from the IRB to help develop their rugby to Tier 2 standard. Few details have been released thus far regarding how the money will be spent but it is hoped it will ensure that Portuguese rugby will be able to move onto the next level. In 2006 the inaugural
IRB Nations Cupwas hosted in Lisbon. The tournament featured Portugal, Russia, Argentina A and Italy A. It is anticipated that this will become an annual event and another medium through which the Portuguese team can develop their skills.
2007 World Cup qualifying
Portugal began their qualification campaign for the
2007 Rugby World Cup(hosted by France) in 2004, as part of the European Nations Cup Division 1 2004-06 tournament. They won their first match, defeating Ukraine 6-36 away. They then went onto defeat Georgia 18 to 14 in Lisbon in their second match, and then won their third match against the Czech Republic, and went onto defeated Russia as well, but then lost to Romania. Portugal then drew with Russia 19-all, and then lost to Georgia. After a loss to Romania and a win against the Czech Republic, Portugal finished third overall in the standings, and qualified for Round 5.
Round 5 was played in October 2006 as a three match series between Italy, Russia and Portugal. Both Portugal and Russia lost heavily in their matches against Italy, who easily qualified for the finals. Second place came down to the final match of the round in Lisbon. Portugal won the match 26 to 23 to make it to Round 6. Round 6 was a home and away series against the Round 5 Pool B winners, Georgia. Portugal lost the first match, but drew 11-all in the second meeting. Georgia went through to the finals, and Portugal entered the repechage round where they defeated Morocco 26-20 on aggregate. The team then faced Uruguay for the last position in the finals.
The first leg of the two-match Repechage series was played in Lisbon. Portugal won 12 points to 5, taking a seven point lead into the final game in Montevideo. Portugal lost 18 points to 12, however, on aggregate, they won by just a single point, 24 to 23, sending them to their first ever World Cup. They went to Pool C, alongside favourites the
All Blacks, Italy, Romania and Scotland. Having qualified for their first World Cup, several players were subsequently arrested in the ensuing celebrations as a result of an altercation with local police. No charges were laid and the players involved were allowed to leave Uruguay.
2007 Rugby World Cup
In the 2007 Rugby world cup, Portugal were anticipated to be crushed by their fellow nations, particularly in their match with New Zealand. Nevertheless, Portugal played competitively, highlights include preventing Italy getting a bonus point as compared to losing by 83-0 before the tournament, scoring a try against the All Blacks and coming within a try of beating Romania before losing 14-10. They also managed to score in all the four games, unlike Scotland and Romania. Portugal team were celebrated for their commitment and passion, and for being the only amateur team to make it to the World Cup.
Aftermath of the World Cup
After the World Cup, Portugal faced some problems, including the end of their international career of several key players, and achieved only one win over Czech Republic in the final round of the European Nations Cup tournament, finishing in 5th place, their worst result since
Pedro Leal- Full Back.
Gonçalo Malheiro- flyhalf
Diogo Mateus- Centre
António Aguilar- Winger
Ruben Spachuck- Prop
João Correia- Hooker
Duarte Figueiredo- Prop
André Silva- Prop
Gonçalo Uva- Lock
David Penalva- Second Row
Marcello D'Orey- Second Row
Juan Severino Somoza- Wing-Forward
João Uva- Flanker
Paulo Murinello- Flanker
Tiago Girão- Flanker
Vasco Uva- No.8 (captain)
Diogo Coutinho- Flanker
José Pinto- Scrum-Half
Duarte Cardoso Pinto- Out-Half
Diogo Gama- Centre
Miguel Portela- Centre
Pedro Carvalho- Winger
Federico Sousa- Centre
Gonçalo Foro- Winger
Notable former players
João Paulo Bessa
* João Jonet
* João Queimado
* Carlos Nobre
* Rodrigo Castro Pereira
* Bernardo Marques Pinto
Federação Portuguesa de Rugby
Notes and references
*Pt icon [http://www.fpr.pt/ Federação Portuguesa de Rugby Official Site]
* [http://www.rugbymagazine.com.br/artigos.asp?id=92 World Cup Preview]
* [http://rugbydata.com/portugal/ Portugal] on RugbyData.com
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