‘There are only three places guaranteed’: Selknam’s internal struggle to clinch a World Cup spot

Cóndores coach Pablo Lemoine reflects on the work of the national franchise and how it will affect what Chile do in their first planetary event. In addition, it gives clues about the keys to be able to access the last call that will go to France.

Pablo Lemoine does not miss a detail of what Selknam does. It doesn’t matter if it’s a morning training session in the middle of pre-season or the franchise’s Super Rugby Americas debut (today they play game two at 6:00 p.m.). The Uruguayan coach of Cóndores is always present. His role in the national team and in Chilean rugby in general sees him working 24/7 for a project that will have its first Rugby League World Cup this year.

Because of this, what the players do during the six months they represent Selknam will end up being key for which team travels to France to play the planetary event in September. These are solidarity projects, almost twinned. Where Lemoine is an almost omnipresent being. Although he admits that in 2023 there have been changes.

This year especially we have chosen that me and the general manager of the Federation stay a little on the sidelines, in order to fulfill a role of observers of the Selknam program. If we really want to control the Selknam program, we can’t be part of it. We must be a little apart. Within Selknam, a whole team works and what we do is establish guidelines per player. Each player has a technical sheet in which he has his faults and his virtues and how we can work on each of them to improve them, in the case of virtues, and continue to correct and repair what is under our control “, says the national coach from the headquarters of the Federation.

A conversation with El Deportivo in which he gives many details about the joint work between the franchise and the national team, even pointing out that most of the team that will be in France will be made up of the 45 players led by Nicolás Bruzzone in the first part of the anus. By the way, he also admits that there are three rugby players with a guaranteed ticket to the World Cup, so there are only 30 places left to fight for.

He says it clearly and frankly. “The players going to the World Cup are the captain (Martín Sigren) and two players I passed them on to a long time ago when they had doubts. I told them that the role they filled went way beyond what they could generate on a pitch, but obviously I’m not going to say who they are. “says Lemoine.

Declaration which is immediately accompanied by a message for the 45 rugby players who make up Selknam: “All the other players have to understand that they have to stick to the program, that they have to be better every day and continue to be a great message to everyone else. In this group, there are very young players, with opportunities to go to the World Cup, so the message sent by the more experienced is key. That’s where we’re really going to grow this group. Today, nobody won the place, apart from the captain and these two players. Everyone else has a gigantic challenge ahead of them and they have to keep fighting, that’s what characterizes us. “, Add.

Lemoine in the Selknam shirt.

You would think that these other two players could be Matías Dittus and Ramón Ayarza, who play in France, but no. Lemoine specifies that of the three “Europeans” in Chile, only Sigren is confirmed in the list of 33.The competition is very high and real. Except the captain, all the players who come from abroad have a competition with the players from here “, he comments.

This returns the conversation around the word “program”. The one that Lemoine occupies a lot when referring to the goals that Selknam has, because nothing is random. For example, that this year there are only Chilean players in the team, this was done thinking of increasing the range of possible selections by training alongside. “What we’ve created is a competitive environment that allows players to improve, because otherwise it’s very hard to improve. It is very difficult to generate this internal competition “, confesses the coach.

Additionally, personalized work guidelines take on added value in this dynamic. “There is a team that takes the rugby players and prepares them at the same time as Selknam prepares the matches. As among the 45 there is a preselection of about 25, we are allowed to have a large number of free players, who do these jobs with different loads. So everyone works their deficits and gathers energy to win a place in the World Cup “, he underlines.

As for what one is looking to improve with these guidelines, Lemoine explains that the focus is on the physical and the technical. Of the first, he says muscle volume, strength, power, agility and speed are the five factors most lacking, while of the second he has a much more extensive and revealing opinion. “In the technical part there is an infinity of details, because they are different positions. At the regional level, for example, the wings can receive stopped without jumping, but at the level we will have to receive by jumping and with two raised hands to gain centimeters. Here we are used to playing duels on the ground, we don’t have that much pressure. A Super League ruck is not the same as a World Cup ruck. A lot happened to us in the November window (Romania, Tonga and Leinster) and it was a surprise », Analyzes the Uruguayan.

Finally, he delivers a key message on what he expects from the rugby family in recent months. “We have to stop thinking about the rugby that we usually play, at regional level, and we have to go out and think about the rugby that awaits us in the World Cup, which is going to challenge us all. The players, the staff, the administrative part, the commercial part. We are all challenged, because the needs will be greater “, he warns.

And he even specifies that the program is more important than a favorable record of victories or defeats. “We must arrive in June with better players physically and tactically. I don’t want to arrive in June in a sporty way, but in poor physical condition “, he admits.

Chile is living a different year, a year where they will meet the world elite and where the real journey will begin, because Lemoine always says so. France 2023 is only the beginning of a new reality.

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Source: Latercera

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