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Hugo Porta: the highest benchmark of Argentine rugby

He triumphed with incredible personal achievements and victories with Los Pumas that led him to be recognized worldwide.

To understand the life of Hugo Porta you have to think about the life of a leader, a leader. Like every leader, he has his victories and defeats. The victories led him to have a magnificent career in the 80s, paving the way for Los  Pumas  to be recognized worldwide. He may even have been a football player but he shone in national and world rugby. Undoubtedly, he is an exemplary individual in   Argentine sport . 

On a day like today, but in 1951,  Hugo Porta  was born in Buenos Aires City. He started his passion for rugby at the age of 15 and decided to score in the  Banco Nación club. Of course, before, like all Argentinean, he played football with his friends, in recesses and even after hours if necessary. At the age of 14 the father decided to take him to test himself to River where he passed the selection test. He started playing rugby on Saturdays and football on Sundays, but luck was already laid and he was very aware of his oval feeling, so he decided to devote himself fully.

 True to the t-shirt 

He arrives at Banco Nación, the club of his whole life, and begins to act as a scrum medium (a position that the player is usually very agile as well as directing the forwards). Rapidly by the strength of his talent he managed to ascend to the first division of  rugby  in 1970. A year later he is selected to train and go to play the South American rugby tournament with Los Pumas. In the course of a match against Chile the opening (player with the ability to give the move and good foot) is injured and his replacement was too far away to hear the coach, so they decide that Hugo change to that position, starting the great legend of Argentine rugby. His change of position increased his skill with the foot and soon adapted to being the player who makes the decisions.

He starts playing in Los Pumas and is a figure in different historical matches like in 1979, where he first beat Australia 24 to 13 and then would repeat in 1983 in Sydney (we have only won him 6 times in history). One of his best years, without a doubt, was 1985 when he managed to beat France for the first time 24-16, where he scored 16 points and was clear figure. However, that same year acquires a record that until today could not be broken by Los Pumas. He got the best result against New Zealand after a tie 21-21. He also acquired the Golden Olympique that is given to the best athlete in Argentina and to put the finishing touch to the year the magazine  Midi Olimpique  proclaimed him as  the best player in the world. 

While in Los Pumas he scored in every possible way: try, penalty, drop and conversion, in the tournament of the Argentine league the thing was difficult. There was a clear supremacy of two teams, from 1970 to 1986 they passed the trophy between Casi  and Sic . That same year, and by deploying a rugby played with the heart, Banco Nación managed to consecrate the persistent streak of both clubs.

 Disappointment is part of the game 

Many proposals were offered to the IRB (International Rugby Board) for the World Cup but all were rejected until 1987, which by joining Australia and New Zealand kicked off the World Cup. The highest rugby body included 16 countries and the remaining 9 in an invitation letter, so that one of them was destined for Argentina with its great player Hugo Porta. There they went Los Pumas to compete against New Zealand even though they had a difficult group. They were surprised in the first match against Fiji and lost 28-9, in the second match they managed to beat Italy 25-16 and finally the dream ended when in the last game they played against the  All Blacks , losing 46-15. New Zealand was the first champion and Hugo finished turning 40 points, but he took a very big disappointment with his team as he became the group stage of the World Cup.After the end of the cup, Porta decided to retire from the cougars due to some differences he had with his coach Rodolfo Michingo O'Reillyr.

 Last episode 

A final chapter was missing in this wrestler and  legend saga. To be a reference were important his sporting achievements and determination when it comes to playing. Although greatness lies in knowing how to chew defeat, digest it and spit it out so that it is understood and forgotten.

His  retirement  from Los Pumas led him to concentrate, in his last years of career, in the first division tournament in Argentina with his lifelong love, Banco Nación. In 1989 he achieved another title, and until today, the only two tournaments of the club were won by Hugo Porta. But it was going to go further, because you always have to prove yourself what you're made of. In 1990 he makes history again, he returns to what he has never achieved before and he gets a win with his club against  England  by 29 to 21, scoring 21 goals. Now, it's time to hang up the booties, stop looking at the hashes and focus on the grandstands. Today Hugo is the president of his beloved club and has formed the rugby hall of fame since 2008, recognized as one of the best openings of the 20th century.

Photo: Gentile Diario Los Andes.

Rating: 5.00/5.