13 February 2023
From The Vaults
Huo Porta (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hugo Porta has been described as the foundation stone of Argentinian rugby. He made his debut for the national side as a 20 year-old in 1971, at a time when Argentina were considered a developing side. A fly-half with game-management skills beyond his years and unerring accuracy with the boot, Porta at times seemed to be single-handedly dragging his side out of obscurity. The Pumas developed rapidly throughout the 1970s, achieving primacy over their neighbours before coming within a whisker of defeating one of the finest Welsh sides of all time, at Cardiff Arms Park in 1976. In 1979 Argentina made a significant breakthrough when Porta landed 16 points to help his side to a 24-13 victory against Australia in Buenos Aires. Draws against France, in 1977, and England, in 1981 were also secured before Argentina beat Australia again, this time in Brisbane, when not even the likes of Mark Ella and David Campese were enough to shackle the Pumas. In 1985 Porta landed all 21 points as his side drew 21-21 with the All-Blacks. At the age of 35 Porta captained his side at the inaugural Rugby World Cup. He played his final game for Argentina, at the age of 39, against the then 5-Nations Champions Scotland at Murrayfield.