This isn't a new league, but it has been rebranded in 2023 as Super Rugby Americas (we'll call it ... SRA? ...). The Americas competition will feature 7 teams from 6 countries with Argentina carrying two teams. This makes sense considering their rugby dominance in South America throughout their history. If Argentina had a sole team, it's possible they would have their way with the league. No competition is fun when one team is dominating the field.
Let's dive into the squads and bold predictions ...
Los Dogos XV
Name / Brand: The Dogo Argentina breed was bred by the 1920s Antonio Nores Martinez, a young student of Córdoba in central Argentina. The logo is fierce... just like this type of dog. They are big game hunting dogs, but also are trained for search and rescue, police assistance, service dogs, and guidance for the blind.
Stadium: Tala Rugby Club - This 6k capacity stadium will likely be wall to wall with home town supporters from the rugby rich region. Tala has won 23 titles in the Cordoba club comp and will likely have fans who will be barking like the Baja Boys.
Squad: Per Americas Rugby News, the roster is primarily built of young representative Argentinian players. The majority of the squad is born during this millennium (2000 and onward), putting most of the team around age 25 or younger.
Bold Prediction: Los Dogos represent Cordoba and win the league. They go toe to toe with their Buenos Aires based rivals Las Pampas throughout the season. They'll find a way to gut it out and win playoff games when it counts to become Super Rugby Americas Champions. Sometimes bad hombres just got that Dogo in 'em.
Las Pampas XV
Name / Brand: "Las Pampas" refer to the great southern plains of Argentina, Uruguay and a small section of southern Brazil. This large swath of land is rich with ranching culture where cattle farming is life. The logo (above) is crisp, featuring a mean looking Bronco with some unique coloring and patterns.
Stadium: Club Atlético de San Isidro, Buenos Aires. better known as CASI. Deep rugby history, 5k capacity.
Squad: Some serious Argentinian talent including the lengthy name Joaquín de la Vega Mendía. He'll run the show at 10, and you can expect nothing but Argentinians battling in out each week to make the team sheet.
Bold Prediction: Las Pampas stay on top of the table throughout the year. The Argentinean talent is too good for anything lower than a finals appearance. Expect the Dogos vs. Pampas games to be hotly contested all year.
Name / Brand: The Raptors brand has undergone many transformations (Glendale Raptors, Colorado Raptors, Colorado XOs, and now the American Raptors). The newest iteration features navy blue, crimson and gold, with a Raptors whose beak is so sharp it can cut glass.
Stadium: Infinity Park. 5k plus capacity. Official "Unofficial" Home of the USA Eagles, but the Raptors will hope to pack the park during their 6 games homestand from late March to early May.
Squad: With the core group being Americans (and crossover rugby players), the other half of the squad is made up of South American talent. Diego Magno, Diego Fortuny and other Sur Americanos will provide a nice balance.
Bold Prediction: Raptors front up and make the playoffs. Wins against the two Argentinian teams won't come easy, but they'll win enough games on their first road trip to put them in a spot to climb the table during their 6 game home stand.
Name / Brand: Technically this is the brand of the Athletic Club Peñarol who has a bunch of different sports under their umbrella ... but when it comes to rugby brands, sometimes simple plays.
Stadium: Estadio Charrúa holds 14k fans when full. Artificial turf seems strange for South America, but makes it easier to manage heavy rains
Squad: Uruguayans up and down the roster. They'll look to duke it out amongst themselves for upcoming selections in the 2023 RWC.
Bold Prediction: The Uruguayans make the final 4, but fall short in a semi-final. They will win some big games throughout the year and have the national team flying high when September comes around and the stage is set in France.
Name / Brand: the Selk'nam, also known as the Onawo or Ona people, are an indigenous people in the Patagonian region of southern Argentina and Chile, including the Tierra del Fuego islands. They were one of the last native groups in South America to be encountered by migrant Europeans in the late 19th century. Red, White and Black are the primary colors for a funky looking logo.
Stadium: Estadio Municipal La Pintana holds 5k fans. The other teams in the league will be familiar with the pitch as it hosted ARC matches in 2016 and 2018. Grass, not turf.
Squad: This is a Chilean team through and through. Similar to Peñarol, they will all be vying for positions in the 2023 RWC.
Bold Prediction: Selknam hangs tough all year, but just misses the playoffs. Their season opener against the American Raptors will tell us a lot, but for now, we have them finishing 5th overall.
Name / Brand: A bunch of abstract triangles or a snake coiled up and ready to strike? We've seen differing color schemes, but the Purple is interesting to say the least.
Stadium: Nicolas Alayon Stadium
Squad: Brazilians mixed with Argentinians and a couple of Colombians.
Bold Prediction: Cobras will win some games, but there will be more losses than wins throughout the year. They'll finish 6th, but will walk away with feeling that they belong in this league and can be more competitive in future years.
Name / Brand: The Yacare Caiman is a South American species of the crocodilian family. They eat fish, snails and sometimes small capybaras ... and they're also eaten by herons storks. They're essentially smaller crocs.
Stadium: Estadio Heroes de Curupayty, Asuncion Paraguay. Capacity 3k.
Squad: Built of primarily Paraguayans, with Argentinian players sprinkled in to fill out the squad. There isn't a whole lot of test rugby talent, but the core of last years (4th place finish) team is back.
Bold Prediction: The Yacare will finish last in a rough and tumble competition. The Paraguayan national team has put up some decent score lines in the past few years, but wins will be hard to come by in SRA 2023.
Thanks for reading. Catch up on our latest MLR Western Conference BOLD Predictions and Eastern Conference BOLD Predictions.
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