If Pablo Lemoine, the Chile coach, knows anything, it is like navigating the turbulent waters of the Rugby World Cup qualifications. This Saturday, the Condors will define the series against Canada to continue on their way to France 2023, live from 14.50 on Star +.
As a player, he was a key pillar of the qualifications to Wales in 1999 (through the playoffs), Australia 2003 (after losing the three first leg, the Teros won all three at home) and was on the road to France 2007 (they did not add the number of points to advance in the playoff series with Portugal) and New Zealand 2011 (after the draw at Charrúa with Romania, they fell in Bucharest).
Already as a coach, in 2014, the process to England 2015 led them to define the last place with Russia. The 22-21 loss at Krasnoyarks was almost like a victory for Uruguay, as it allowed them to return to Montevideo with everything to win. That’s how it went.
In 2018, after putting the Uruguayan High Performance into operation, he moved his enormous wealth of knowledge to Santiago de Chile. Today he faces a situation similar to that of 2014: in the first leg with Canada he was only one point down. Although the classification is not defined now for the Condors – it is to stay alive in the qualifying process and have two direct chances to go to France 2023 – it is a key deadline.
“Clearly, there was significant planning, both physical and technical, that began two years ago. We knew that at some point we were going to find a tie with the North and we wanted to be ready ”, Lemoine says from Santiago, where he is already dreaming and working on the rematch to be played this Saturday at the Elías Figueroa Stadium in the coastal city of Valparaíso, starting at 2:50 p.m., live on Star +.
This American tie was to be held for two years through the Americas Rugby Championship, but COVID-19 intervened and had to be defined differently.
Chile defeated Brazil and fell to Uruguay to face Canada – defeated by the United States – for survival. The work in Chile started much earlier.
“From the beginning we developed a lot the physical and skills issue so that the boys, especially the defenses, can compete a couple of years later.”
Add: “On Saturday at Langford you could see that we were able to compete against big guys and that they have high level rugby experience and we were able to put up with them.”
Planning and preparation is key, as was the success at the desks, from the management of Sudamérica Rugby and its President Sebastián Piñeyrúa, to finish the series at home.
“Finishing at home is key. When Pino (Piñeyrúa) told me, I was happy. It is a political conquest. We know that the fans in South America are very fanatical, eager, and that we can really hurt them emotionally. “
“Taking them out of their house, with adjusted results, with long trips for which they are not used to. They are players who play in the MLR, not like us South Americans who are used to many hours everywhere. That was achieved as a political achievement and that is going to pay dividends. “
The planning, thanks to all the experience of Lemoine and his coaching staff, allowed Chile to get the tickets with time and allow them to be in Santiago as quickly as possible, in addition to an efficient preparation to reach Victoria, a city that Lemoine he visited a couple of times as a Uruguayan coach, it was very good.
“We prepare well to arrive in time and above all to return in time. We believe that flights are key in these qualifiers with only one week between one game and the other. “
Having seen the four previews from Canada, it was a great help. So much so that it surprised Chile little. The scrum was not as efficient as wanted. “We have a very good scrum, which performs well in South America where we have a scrum culture. At Langford, we couldn’t even form the scrum. The issue of understanding the scrum was quite controversial and the referee could not solve it, ”Lemoine said.
For Los Cóndores to advance to the next phase against the series loser from Uruguay and the United States, they must win by two points in Valparaíso.
“We must make fewer mistakes than we did there and be more effective in the opportunities we had,” added Lemoine, knowing what his team can expect.
“From them I expect a very mixed match; They are going to come to complicate it, to provoke it. It’s part of the playoff game. They have a couple of seasoned players who are going to try to take advantage of that. They are going to bring a very tough, very demanding approach. “
Chile will be able to count on all its players, since except for a couple of blows in the process of recovery, they will be fully available.
Having been in similar situations, Lemoine finished: “I had dejà vu from the tie with Russia in 2014. I don’t know why, but I had feelings from before. It’s great to be able to relive things that I experienced elsewhere; those sensations are a bit what motivates us to dedicate ourselves to these things. “
Source: South America Rugby