As the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship heads to South America this weekend with the Argentina XV hosting Canada and Brazil and Chile at home to USA and Uruguay respectively, we take a look at how the results of those matches could affect the World Rugby Rankings.
CHILE V URUGUAY
Second-from-bottom Chile entertain a Uruguay side that has so far failed to build on an encouraging Rugby World Cup 2015. After suffering an opening round defeat to Canada, Uruguay scraped home against Brazil before running the Argentina XV close in round three to accumulate six points from their first three games.
Chile have yet to improve on the four competition points they picked up in their opening round 25-22 win over Brazil, but know victory on Saturday would more than likely move them above their visitors in the ARC standings.
Chile and Uruguay first met back in 1951 when Chile won 21-3 on neutral territory in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Los Condores proceeded to win seven of the next 10 games before Uruguay took over as the dominant force in the mid-1970s. Los Teros went 26 years without suffering a defeat between 1975 and 2001.
Last time out Chile beat Uruguay 30-15 in Santiago in the final round of the 2015 South American Championship. Chile scored all of their points in the first 53 minutes of the match with tries by Cristian Onetto, Juan Pablo Perrotta and Italo Zunino and 15 points from the boot of Javier Valderrama.
- Uruguay need six tries for 600 in tests.
- Chile were kept scoreless for the first time in 47 years – and for only the fifth time in their test history – when they lost 64-0 to USA in round three. All four previous whitewashes came at the hands of Argentina.
Any form of victory would be enough for Uruguay to replace Namibia as one of the world’s top 20 ranked nations. Defeat, however, would see them fall below Spain to 22nd – even if Los Leones lose heavily away to Georgia in the European Nations Cup. In such a scenario Uruguay will find themselves just one place above Chile when the World Rugby Rankings are published at 12:00 UK time on Monday, because Los Condores stand to gain enough points to take them above Hong Kong into 23rd.
A defeat at the hands of Los Teros, however, would prove costly for Chile as they’d fall at least four places to 28th in the rankings with Korea, Portugal, Germany and Belgium all benefitting.
ARGENTINA XV V CANADA
A senior Argentine men’s team hasn’t played Canada since they suffered a shock 22-15 defeat in Calgary in 2005. However, the nations have met at A team level as recently as 2014, when, in the previous incarnation of an Americas Rugby Championship, Argentina Jaguars wrapped up a fifth straight title with a 39-9 win over the Canadian second string. Centre Joaquin Paz, the four-try hero for Argentina XV in their round two win over Chile, scored twice that day.
Canada need to win in Rosario to realistically keep their Americas Rugby Championship title hopes alive, while the Argentina XV will be going all out for maximum points to keep the pressure firmly on top of the table USA.
- Canada need seven tries to bring up 500 in tests.
- Argentina XV have been boosted by the arrival of Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Lucas González Amorosino, two members of their side that reached the semi-finals of Rugby World Cup 2015.
While no rankings points are on offer for this match, Argentina could find themselves up to fourth when the latest World Rugby Rankings are published on Monday. For that to happen Los Pumas need Wales to lose at home to France – but by 15 points or less.
BRAZIL V USA
Brazil face new test match opposition for the second round running as they come up against USA in Sao Paulo. Last weekend, the Tupis played their part in an entertaining first-ever encounter against Canada, which the North Americans won 52-25. Having finished within seven points of Chile and Uruguay in deefat in the first two rounds, Brazil almost achieved a third consecutive bonus point against the Canucks but fell one try short of the four required.
USA lead the standings by one point from Argentina XV after going unbeaten on home soil with a draw and two victories. They face Uruguay away in their final fixture while the Argentina XV make the much shorter trip to Brazil.
- USA reached double figures in terms of tries scored for only the fifth time in their test history when they racked up 10 against Chile in round three.
- Brazil full-back Daniel Sancery has scored tries in each of his first three test appearances.
With 26 places separating USA in 16th and Brazil in 42nd in the World Rugby Rankings, it is not possible for the Eagles to gain any rankings points with victory in Sao Paulo this weekend. However, a loss to the lower-ranked Tupis would see them leapfrogged by a victorious Romania. The Oaks play local rivals Russia on Saturday in the European Nations Cup.
With anything from two to three full rankings points on offer, Brazil will be well-rewarded for victory. A win of 15 points or less would see them climb four places to 38th. A win by an even bigger margin would result in an eight-place improvement.
Americas Rugby Championship 2016 standings
1. USA – 13 points (+72)
2. Argentina XV – 12 points (+40)
3. Canada – 10 points (+35)
4. Uruguay – 6 points (-15)
5. Chile – 4 points (-96)
6. Brazil – 2 points (-34)
Americas Rugby Championship 2016 results and fixtures
Round 1: Chile 25-22 Brazil, Canada 33-17 Uruguay, USA 35-35 Argentina XV
Round 2: Brazil 29-33 Uruguay, Argentina XV 52-15 Chile, USA 30-22 Canada
Round 3: Canada 52-25 Brazil, USA 64-0 Chile, Uruguay 21-24 Argentina XV
Round 4 – 27-28 Feb - Argentina v Canada ; Brazil v USA ; Chile v Uruguay
Round 5 – 5-6 March - Chile v Canada ; Uruguay v USA ; Brazil v Argentina