Scene Set for Thrilling Start to RWC 2015 Qualification Process

Dublin-Ireland, March 24, 2012: Qualification Process, A record crowd for a Rugby match in Mexico is expected when the hosts entertain Jamaica in the opening qualification match for Rugby World Cup 2015 on Saturday (15:30 local time).

Over 2000 fans from a thriving local Rugby community will pack into the La Ibero Stadium in Santa Fe, Mexico City, to see a match that will be about bragging rights within the NACRA Region and will ignite a qualification process that will see 80 countries vying across 184 matches for 8 places at Rugby’s showcase event. The William Webb Ellis Cup will also be on display, while Rugby World Cup 2003 winner and England Rugby 2015 ambassador Lawrence Dallaglio will accompany IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset to the match which will be officiated by Rugby World Cup 2011 Final Referee.

For the Federación Mexicana de Rugby, hosting such a historic event is not just about the honour of the occasion, but an opportunity with heightened media and public interest to really put Rugby on the map in Mexico. Mexico captain Juan Pablo Andrade said at a busy media conference at the Mexico National Committee Centre: “We are excited about the challenge that awaits. We know that this is a big occasion, a big honour to be hosting the opening RWC 2015 qualifier, but we must not lose focus of the need to progress in the NACRA Championship.”

“We have prepared well and are looking forward to being able to display Rugby, its values and ethos to a wider audience in Mexico, which is really exciting for the development of our Union and attracting more players to the sport.”

With the match taking place at an altitude of 2,500 metres, Jamaica can expect a tough aerobic encounter, but the team go into the fixture in confident mood after a solid and successful block of training. Jamaica captain Carlyle Burger said: “We do not know all that much about Mexico as we have not seen footage of them playing. What we do know is that we are well prepared, motivated, ready and are expecting a very physical, very competitive match. I am sure that the fans will enjoy it.”

“Rugby in Jamaica has the ability to take off. We have seen the positive effects of Olympic inclusion which is benefitting our Fifteens programme also. There is so much track and field talent, so many athletes who would be great for Rugby.”

It is the second time in a row that the NACRA Region has kicked off the RWC qualification process and IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset praised Rugby in a region that is showing great potential on and off the field. IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset added: “It is exciting for the IRB and NACRA that the qualification process is kicking off here in Mexico. This country represents the great potential within a number of Unions in a region that continues to make strides in terms of development and participation numbers.”

“I am sure that it will be an exciting match played in front of a record crowd and I would like to wish both teams good luck.”

The Federación Mexicana de Rugby will be streaming the match live at Kick-off is 15:30 local time (16:30 Kingston; 17:30 New York; 21:30 Dublin and London; 22:30 Madrid and Paris, 09:30 Sydney, 11:30 Auckland).

Mexico: 15 Pascal Nadaud, 14 Alejandro Chavez, 13 Christian Henning, 12 Pablo Pagano, 11 Samuel Gythu Nyaga, 10 Miguel Carner, 9 Juan Pablo Andrade (capt), 1 Patrick Jouan, 2 Carlos Prieto, 3 Max Douek, 4 Gonzalo Taddei, 5 Erik Castillo, 6 Luis Rosete, 7 Fernando Herrejon, 8 Simon Pierre Reps: 16 Juan Manuel Ceja Matamoros, 17 Luis Hernandez Cruz, 18 Roberto Calderon, 19 Pablo Pinedo, 20 Bruno Rodriguez, 21 Carlos Susarrey, 22 Gerardo Gil Hernandez.

Jamaica:15 Joseph Shae, 14 Ryan Grant, 13 Donald Walters, 12 Tyronie Rowe, 11 Ronaldo Wade, 10 Nicholas Pusey, 9 Andrew Hylton, 1 Romaine Campbell, 2 Robert Johnson, 3 Sandino Hastings, 4 Kemar Catwell, 5 Edgar Herbine, 6 Omar Jones, 7 Chrisdan Grayson, 8 Carlyle Burger (capt)

Reps: 16 Deryon Balfoure, 17 Rahmone Goldbourne, 18 Allessandro Allen, 19 Hubert Thomas, 20 Mohenjo Thompson, 21 Kenneth Walker, 22 Claude Yen

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

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