Argentina XV became the first team in the four-year history of the Americas Rugby Championship to win the tournament with a full complement of points, having won all five matches with bonus points.
USA completed a grand slam of victories in winning the title in 2018 but finished with 24 points as opposed to Argentina XV's 25.
Argentina XV ensured their perfect record with an 85-10 win over Chile in Santiago, while Uruguay are another team to take a lot of positives out of the tournament after claiming the runners-up spot for the first time following a 42-20 victory against Brazil.
In the opening match of the weekend in Seattle, it took a try in the final play of the game for the USA to see off Canada, 30-25.
Chile 10-85 Argentina XV
Ignacio Fernández Lobbe's Argentina XV played some of their best rugby of the tournament against a Chilean side that has struggled throughout the Americas Rugby Championship, and ended up posting the biggest win in the history of the competition.
Chile had no answer to the power and pace of an Argentina XV that has been ably led by the experienced Lautaro Bavaro, shipping 13 tries.
Argentina XV's attacking game was in full flow with scrum-half Felipe Ezcurra controlling affairs brilliantly at the base. Centre Lucas Mensa claimed a hat-trick of tries to finish as joint-top tournament try-scorer with USA hooker Joe Tautefe’e on five, while Diego Fortuny grabbed a brace. Martin Elias converted eight of his nine attempts at goal before handing over the kicking duties to Domingo Miotti.
The newly-crowned champions found themselves 40-3 up at half-time following Fortuny's double, which came either side of scores by Lucas Santa Cruz and Julián Domínguez. Lucas Mensa and Santiago Carreras rubbed further salt into the wounds before the break. A Santiago Videla penalty was all Chile could muster by way of points.
Mensa completed his hat-trick within seven minutes of the restart and midfield partner Agustín Segura followed with one of his own before replacement prop Mauricio Gómez piled over from close range for his maiden international try. Videla added the extras.
Gregorio del Prete and Domingo Miotti, the replacement half-backs, scored a brace each in the last quarter as Chile tired and Argentina XV broke the defensive line at will
“I am happy that we won the five games and happy with the way we won today. It was something we were after, having worked very well since 7 January," said Argentina XV coach Ignacio Fernández Lobbe.
“We tried to play good rugby throughout the 80 minutes so that the players can aspire to a higher standard of rugby.”
Uruguay 42-20 Brazil
Uruguay were pushed all the way by an ever-improving Brazil side before they closed out the game with a strong finish to clinch second place in the table, a hugely encouraging result for Los Teros in a Rugby World Cup year.
It took 51 minutes before Esteban Meneses' side took the lead and the result was still in the balance until Germán Kessler scored the second of his two tries with seven minutes to go.
Brazil were the first on the scoreboard and the points came from a predictable source – a scrum penalty booted by Josh Reeves, who finished the tournament as top points scorer with 54.
His opposite number Felipe Berchesi levelled the scores with a three-pointer of his own before Brazil’s intentions were made very clear. After an attack from deep and further thrusts closer to the line, scrum-half Lucas Duque found the tiniest of spaces to dart over and score the first try.
Soon after, when Uruguay were penalised in the backfield, full-back Daniel Sancery took the defence by surprise to score close to the posts. Reeves added the conversion to make the 15-3 to the visitors inside the first quarter.
Berchesi kicked his second penalty before hooker Kessler scored his team’s first try with a maul from a lineout, closing the gap to 15-11 before the interval.
Four minutes after the break, Berchesi kicked his third penalty to close the gap to one but Brazil responded quickly to score their third try – and double their tally for the entire tournament – through winger Lucas Tranquez.
From the 48th minute on, however, Brazil were unable to add any further points and when Frank Lamanna's try was successfully converted by Berchesi, Uruguay found themselves in front for the first time.
By now the tide had changed, Juan Manuel Cat's mazy run and Berchesi's conversion giving them an eight-point cushion with 64 minutes gone.
Brazil were given hope when Los Teros centre Andrés Vilaseca was sent-off for a dangerous tackle on 68 minutes but Cleber Dias' sin-binning shortly after left both teams short-handed for the remainder of the match.
Kessler secured the bonus point, and the match, when he crossed the line again in almost identical fashion to his first try before, right on the stroke of full-time, the Uruguayan scrum paid back some of the earlier torment by sending replacement Juan Diego Ormaechea in for the fifth and final score.
USA 30-25 Canada
USA needed the full 80 minutes to extend their unbeaten run against Canada to 10 matches, replacement Ruben de Haas proving the Eagles' savour with the match-winning try in the final few seconds.
After what was an even-handed first half, the USA led 15-12 thanks to tries from prolific hooker Joe Taufete’e and back-rower Cam Dolan. Will Magee converted the first try to add to his earlier penalty. Canada's points came from centre Nick Blevins and Luke Campbell and a Gordon McRorie conversion.
At the start of the second half, Taufete’e powered over again from an advancing maul but number eight Campbell responded with his second as the game swung one way and then the other.
A Magie penalty was followed by two from the boot of McRorie and Canada found themselves in front with seven minutes to go. The USA piled forward and put Canada under immense pressure and, having already conceded a string of penalties to test the patience of referee Pali Deluca, they lost Kyle Baillie to the sin-bin for a high tackle.
Playing with 14 men for the final four minutes Canada dug in, but their short-handed pack could deal with a defensive five-metre scrum and replacement scrum-half de Haas picked up possession and nipped over to break the visitors' hearts.
Photo: Cesar Beltran
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