Argentina handballbrazilChile handballhandball A little bit more than two months after having obtained the World Championship title in Serbia, the Brazilian team will be present in the South American Games in Chile with eleven of the players that lifted the trophy last December. The objective is clear: to steal the title from the hands of current holders, Argentina.This tournament is the first step on the Olympic race, for South American countries, and even though Brazil is already qualified to Rio 2016 (host nation) they feel the need to compete in full strength to gain yet another medal. Captain Fabiana Diniz said to CBHb’s website: “We always had certain hegemony in America, but now it has been undoubtedly crowned with the World Championship title, so we want to play as World champions. We want to do well and celebrate once again”.Among the World Champions will be Bárbara Arenhart, Alexandra Nascimento, Ana Paula Rodrigues, DeoniseCavaleiro, Fernanda França, FabianaDiniz (Hypo NÖ, AUT), Samira Rocha (MiosBiganos, FRA), Amanda de Andrade (Supergasbras/UNC/Concórdia, BRA), Hannah Nunes (Metodista/São Bernardo, BRA), Elaine Gomes (Assoc. Cult. e Esp. Força Atlética, BRA) and Mayara Fier de Moura (Blumenau, BRA).All players from Hypo NÖ will be in Santiago right after having played the quarter finals of the EHF Winners’ Cup against Byasen Trondheim. The Austrian team has reached an agreement with the Norwegian side in order to play both legs of the competition on the 1st and 2nd of March and allow all players to be present in Santiago on time for the beginning of the South American Games.Diniz also affirmed: “Nowadays, we’re the team everyone wants to beat. We know that all teams on this tournament will face us with the same respect they always have, but this time they will be even more eager to beat us. We’ll also face them with respect and focus on each game to get to the victory. The World Championship title is now part of the past and our work continues”.The women’s tournament will begin on March 7th and finish on the 15th. There will be one group only,where all five competitors will play against each other. Title holders Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay are the other four participant nations. Three teams will qualify for the Pan-American Games of Toronto 2015, where only one spot will be at stake to be in Rio 2016.TEXT: LAURA AGENA ← Previous Story Clara Woltering to stay in Buducnost for one more year! Next Story → RK Vardar and Lackovic – no deal!
TODAY’S TEAM SELECTION offered up no major surprises as Peter O’Mahony resumed his place in the back row and Iain Henderson dropped to the bench.Paddy Jackson will feel hard done by and rightfully so. He did nothing wrong when called upon. Ian Madigan’s problem was always his lack of game time at out-half and, once he got that with Leinster, he was always going to end up on the bench. He has more to offer in terms of a change in Ireland’s playing style when he comes on. He plays on the gainline and is a confident, off-the-cuff operator.Jonathan Sexton has similar qualities but Madigan’s ability to make a play no-one is expecting could prove handy if we are chasing the game. Saying that, Madigan has proved he can close out games and play tactically so Schmidt should be happy to call on him in the final quarter.Joe Schmidt will have covered every eventuality and play that France might run but I am sure he was happy to have lads like Madigan and Simon Zebo running attacking lines against his squad out at Carton House this week. They would be the closest players we have to that instinctive, French style of rugby. To be able to call on lads like Donnacha Ryan, Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls for training runs is remarkable. Last year was a freak one for injuries but now we have Lions wingers and international-class second rows not making matchday squads but in for training drills. It’s a remarkable show of squad strength.For all of Ireland’s preparations and planning, this should be the first game of the championship that is not decided by how they play. The results have all depended on how they have played. They got themselves into position to win at Twickenham but some players started to slip in the closing stages. France, on the other hand, have been bad for the entire Six Nations. This is the first time they have been poor throughout an entire championship but they have the skill to turn it around and have a crazy game.France have named a stronger side than the one that snuck over the line against Scotland. In Louis Picamoles, they have one of the best players in the northern hemisphere if not the world. Wesley Fofana missing out is a big break for Ireland as Gael Fickou is unproven and neither Brian O’Driscoll or Gordon D’Arcy will let Mathieu Bastareaud away with much. There is a change at hooker and Dimitri Szarzewski can’t do any worse than Brice Mach and Guilhem Guirado managed last week. He’s a good line-out operator and will add some strength to an area that was previously lacking in good hair. Source: James Crombie/INPHOPhilippe Saint-Andre will have his team fired up and the message may well be that a win is needed or heads will roll. He has opted against recalling Morgan Parra at scrum-half in favour of Maxime Machenaud. Any other sane person would have Parra back in a heartbeat. It is teed up for France to have one of their cracking, unstoppable games but, even if they do, I believe Ireland will handle them and get the win. There has been talk of France sitting back and playing a counter-attacking game. Ireland should welcome that and trust in their ability to see them home. I have full confidence in the fitness of the Irish players. It takes a huge effort to defend — make one tackle and get up for another — than to attack. If France do play on the hop and wait for us to falter, we have the scramble defence to get back and hold them off.There was a feeling in the past of ‘Ah Jesus, France in Paris for our last game’. That is no longer the case and the feeling in the Irish camp is different. Eight of the Irish players [three starters – Chris Henry, Devin Toner and Dave Kearney] have never played a Test match in Paris before. That, in the past, may have been a bad thing. This time around it means a lot of lads don’t have that stigma of defeat; they are used to winning games and Stade de France won’t faze them.I played France, in Paris, in 2004 and met them twice in Dublin. In my time, we were never able to get the result at Stade de France despite the great players we had to choose from. They were always capable of getting on a roll and scoring two or three tries — really getting that scoreboard rocking — in the space of 10, 15 hectic minutes. They have created very little this year but have taken every opportunity presented to them. If France get a quick score, Ireland need to regain their composure quickly. Shane Byrne evades Sylvia Marconnet of France in 2004. Source: INPHOThe French crowd can be great when the game is swinging their way but equally, if Les Bleus falter, quick to turn. Ireland will need to strike hard and strike first. Their chances will come.I genuinely believe Ireland have enough players with no history and no fear of going to Paris. They are the form team of the Six Nations and a very wily coach that will do everything to get a championship in the bag. A win of any description will do it. a one point win would be absolutely [email protected] played hooker for Leinster and Saracens, won 45 Test caps for Ireland between 2001 and 2005 and 4 Test appearances with The British & Irish Lions.The best pictures from Ireland’s final training run on home soilAnalysis: Shutting down Picamoles will go a long way to securing Ireland win