With Yaras Sevens on their way to Dubai for the start of the HSBC SVNS season, Brazilian rugby faces a huge test on Saturday when the 15s side completes the two-test series against Portugal at SESI Guarulhos in São Paulo.

Tuesday's hard-fought 10-7 win at the same venue was historic in that it was Brazil's first as a test-playing team, 15 years after they made their debut against the Netherlands. 

After an absence of 11 years from the test stage, five further test defeats by Colombia followed that initial game before they finally broke their duck at the seventh time of asking in a match where all the points were scored in the first half.

Saturday's re-match is the highlight of what promises to be a festival of rugby with U14, U17 and U19 games in the Federação Paulista de Rugby tournament also taking place in the build-up to the main event. 

And for those not present in person at the stadium, the game is being screened on a local YouTube channel with a reach of more than a million followers.

History in the making

Brazil hope that the historic win over Portugal will be a launchpad for their bid to qualify for Women's Rugby World Cup 2025 in England, as well as encourage more girls and women to follow the example of Lohana Valente and take up the game despite not coming from a rugby background. 

Valente, who comes from the remote city of Manaos on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, scored the first points against Portugal through a penalty before converting number eight Iris Coluna’s try in the last play of the first half.

Portugal arrived in Brazil ranked 25th in the world and as winners of the Rugby Europe Women's Trophy so to beat them was no mean feat.

“We are delighted with our first-ever win; it was history in the making for our 15s programme,” said South African-born coach AK Southey.

“The girls worked really hard and it is a win for every girl that plays rugby in Brazil. Our team represents the work done in every club, every region. I have no words to describe the emotions.”

With the second test approaching fast, Southey added: “We want to close the cycle and repeat the win.”

Brazil eye RWC 2025 qualification 

A second win will certainly elevate As Yaras in the World Rugby Women's Rankings powered by Capgemini, where they were ranked 49th at the start of the series – potentially to a new high of 39th depending on the margin of victory.

At the game was newly-installed national team head coach Emiliano Caffera, who flew straight from Spain where Brazil's men competed in La Vila International Rugby Cup.

His brief sees him aiming to push for both the women's and men's teams to qualify for England 2025 and Australia 2027 respectively. A former Uruguayan international who played in Rugby World Cup 2003, he assisted in Los Teros' qualification to England 2015 and Chile's debut at France 2023.

Loose forward Letizia Medeiros, meanwhile, wants to back up Tuesday's win with another victory: “We trained very hard, had many camps and the win was incredible. We gave all we had on Tuesday but we know we must get better for Saturday.

“We are setting a standard in our game and our squad is increasingly connected, with all the players giving our maximum. We want an even greater result on Saturday and for that to happen, we need to iron out some details in our game."

Photo: FotoJump