Brazil A loudly celebrated an important win against the USA Select XV to open a very warm afternoon at the Estadio Charrúa, Montevideo. Elsewhere in round two of the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge, Argentina XV overwhelmed Paraguay A and, in the closing game, the home side managed to repel the late attacks of Chile A for a much-celebrated win.
Argentina XV and Uruguay A will play for the Americas Pacific Challenge title in the last match of the final round on Saturday. Chile A, if they beat the USA Select, will be hoping to see that match end in a draw to see themselves crowned as champions.
Brazil A 33 USA Select 20
With a dominant scrum, the Brazilians were overjoyed with their win, having recovered from a 17-13 first half deficit. The Brazil win extends a complicated month for USA Rugby.
The South Americans made things easy for the USA Select defence in the opening half, with a slow and predictable attack.
The influential Lucas Spago opened the score with two early penalties before the North American number eight Kyle Breytenbach scored from the back of a maul.
Eleven minutes later, three from half-time, wing Harry Barlow benefited from the quick hands of his teammates to touch down in the right corner.
Right before the break, Brazilian number eight and captain Matheus de Souza Claudio found the smallest of gaps to narrow the scores, with Spago adding the goal.
Early in the second half, lock Kaua de Oliveira Guimaraes broke a feeble defence to score under the posts to take the lead and control of the game.
So much so that after Spago had kicked two penalties, replacement front-rower Endy William de Jesús scored in the left corner after a dominant scrum and quick hands from a blindside attack.
The win was loudly celebrated by a young squad symbolising the reconstruction of Brazilian rugby.
Argentina XV 146 Paraguay A 7
The continent’s best rugby nation proved too good for a Paraguayan side that had no answer to their power.
Argentina XV scored two tries in the opening eight minutes, and 20 after lock Jesús Montiel was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
Olympic medallist Santiago Mare scored the first try within a minute of kick-off, in a game that saw Paraguay scoring their only try in the 67th minute in what was a rare lapse of concentration by the winners.
“Despite the differences we already knew there would be, playing with a player short was hard for Paraguay, I recognise the importance of staying focused for the 80 minutes, playing seriously and showcasing the real difference between both games,” said Argentina XV head coach Ignacio Fernández Lobbe.
Hooker Ignacio Ruiz and full-back Gerónimo Prisciantelli scored four tries each, wing Martín Bogado three, and two each for Jerónimo Gómez Vara, Juan Pablo Castro Collado and Francisco Pisani. Mare, Joaquín Pellandini, Conrado Roura and Juan Pablo Zeiss got one each. Martín Elías added 10 goals in a first half that ended 80-0, while his replacement Tomás Suárez Folch converted each of his, including his 78th minute try.
Uruguay A 24 Chile A 17
Uruguay A celebrated an important win against their great rivals Chile A in front of a home crowd.
In a stop-start game that was very physical, as expected every time these two countries meet on a rugby field, it was the Uruguayans that found the difference.
The home side took the few opportunities on offer and staunchly defended their try line in the dying minutes as the Chileans launched attack after attack.
Local wing Mateo Viñals scored the first of five tries in the game, sidestepping seven defenders. Half an hour into the game, Chile A’s Agustín Fernández launched himself from the back of a rolling maul to score.
Baltazar Amaya was again involved in Uruguay A’s second try when he ran almost 30 metres to pass to loose forward Lucas Bianchi, who scored in the second minute of the second half.
With a try from hooker Guillermo Pujadas converted by replacement Juan Zuccarino, Uruguay A stretched their lead to 24-10 with almost half an hour to play.
Nine minutes later, Joaquín Milesi showed his strength to break the last line of the defensive wall. With the game up for grabs, the Chileans went into an all-out attack but were always stopped by a committed light blue wall.