IRB Hall of Fame - Induction No 10 - Hugo Porta (1951-), Argentina
- Born: 11 September 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- Family: The only child of Hugo Oscar Porta and Ortencia Alvarado. Married to Analia Santarelli with two children, son Mariano and daughter Luciana.
- Education: Instituto La Salle, Florida, BA. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Graduated in 1975 as an Architect.
- Other sports: Tennis and soccer. It was said that he was such a good player that he may have been offered a professional contract with Boca Juniors.
Businessman, he runs the family business of building materials, Argentina Ambassador to South Africa 1991-1995. Argentina Sports Minister (Secretario de Deportes) 1996-1999 Actively involved with the Fundacion Laureus Argentina.
- Voted by Midi Olympique readers as the Best Player in the World in 1985.
- Voted the best fly half in the world by Rugby World magazine in 1985.
- Voted the Argentine Sportsman of the Year in 1985.
- Konex Foundation Award and the Diploma of Merit in Sport in both 1980 and 1990.
- His first and only club was Banco Nación RFC.
- He started as scrum half in 1969 in the Second BA Division league.
- In 1970 he played his first match for the first team of the club against Olivos RFC.
- He played for the club for 20 years, until 1990.
- Won the Buenos Aires club championship in 1986 and 1989.
- In 1990 he led Banco Nacion, who defeated England on tour.
- Played his first match for Buenos Aires province (Capital Federal) against Alto Valle in 1971.
- Selected as third choice scrum half for the Pumas in the 1971 South American Championship, he was asked by coach Angel Guastella to have a run at fly half, as both outside halves were injured. He never looked back.
- International debut v Chile in the 1971 South American Championship.
- Last match v Scotland in 1990 on Argentina's tour of the UK.
- He was captain of the Argentine team that drew 18-18 with France in 1977; defeated Australia 24-13 in 1979 and drew 21-21 with the All Blacks in 1985.
- Appointed captain of Argentina against France in 1977 and, after retiring in the aftermath of Rugby World Cup 1987, he returned briefly in 1990 to lead the Pumas on tour.
- Played for the South African Barbarians in 1977.
- Played for World XV v Australia in 1988.
- Played for NZ Barbarians in 1986.
- His international career spans 19 years and 33 days, the fifth longest career in international rugby. He came out of retirement to play against a World XV as part of the UAR Centenary celebrations in 1999. Agustin Pichot was his scrum half in Argentina's 50-31 win in Buenos Aires. His opponent was Craig Chalmers and he kicked one penalty. The match was a non-cap international, though the World XV had been officially selected by the IRB. Had the match been regarded as a full international Porta would have broken the record for longest international career.
Tours and Tournaments
The 1973 Argentina tour of Ireland & Scotland
The 1975 Argentina tour of France
The 1976 Argentina tour of Wales & England
The 1978 Argentina tour of UK & Italy
The 1979 Argentina tour of New Zealand
The 1982 Argentina tour of France & Spain
The 1983 Argentina tour of Australia
The 1986 Argentina tour of Australia
The 1990 Argentina tour of UK
The 1980 South America tour of South Africa
The 1982 South America tour of South Africa
The 1984 South American Jaguars tour of South Africa
The 1987 Rugby World Cup of New Zealand
What they said about him
- Remains Argentina's leading point scorer in international rugby with 593 points, ahead of Gonzalo Quesada (483), Felipe Contepomi (479), Santiago Meson (370) and Federico Todeschini (256).
- Played 58 times for the Pumas and captained them in 34 matches.
- Played all eight Test matches for the Jaguars against the Springboks (four times in 1980, twice in 1981 and twice in 1984), all of them as captain. He scored all 21 points for the Jaguars in their 21-12 win in Bloemfontein in 1982.
- Kicked a record 13 conversions in a match against Paraguay. He is now second on the Argentine all-time list after Jose Cilley, who kicked 16.
- Scored three drop goals in a match on two occasions - against Australia and New Zealand.
Pablo Mamone (journalist): "Hugo Porta was the magician of Argentine rugby. He had outstanding level of skill and was probably the best kicker of the ball in the world. Hugo was at his best in 1989 when his club, Banco Nacion played the most spectacular attacking game in the history of domestic rugby in Argentina. He was quite special."
Angel Guastella (Pumas coach): "He was unique as a player, very skilful, intelligent and a very good leader. He had great hands and an extraordinary vision. My all-time favourite as a player."
Alejandro Cloppet (journalist): "Porta has written the modern history of Argentine rugby. There is before and after Porta. As a player he was superb."
Lino Perez (Porta's former club coach and UAR President): "Everybody wrote about Hugo's ability as a kicker, but I have been following him for about 20 years since he has been playing for our club and in this time he has not dropped a ball more than three times. He had extraordinary hands."