Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Los Pampas XV 57-15 Valke Falcons

The success story of Los Pampas XV in the 2011 Vodacom Cup in South Africa continued on Saturday as the Argentina team impressed with a 57-15 victory over the Valke Falcons at the Fanie du Toit Sport Grounds in Potchefstroom. The result continues to underline the utter success of the PladAR system in Argentina which has given the country´s leading emerging players semi professional contracts and an elite fitness regime to close the gap from domestic club rugby to international level. It is an important phase for the future of Argentina rugby as the sport continues to boom throughout the country. In France 2007 26 of Argentina´s 30 players were from Argentina. The majority of the players in Los Pampas XV, however are not from Buenos Aires. This change marks an important turning point in Argentina as it is, without question, unlocking a larger player base and ensuring a bright future for the sport in the country.

The win sees Los Pampas XV remain undefeated this season and the team continues to lead the Southern Zone of the Vodacom Cup. With a Quarter Final already secured, coach Daniel Hourcarde opted to make changes and rotate his squad. This saw Belisario Agulla, the younger brother of Argentina international and Leicester Tigers wing Horacio Agulla make his debut after returning from injury. Belisario Agulla had a dream debut as he scored a second half try but the star was outside centre Joaquín Tuculet who scored four tries, two in each half. The Argentine team showed its authority from early on in the match as secondrower Benjamín Macome score the games first try in the thirteenth minute. Valke responded with a penalty to winger Kyle Hendricks in the twentieth minute but Los Pampas XV hit back straight away with two tries in as many minutes as Tuculet scored his first and winger Román Miralles also went over to touch down. A 26th minute try to Valke tighthead prop Nico Engelbrecht kept the game alive but Tuculet´s 36th minute try put the Argentine team 26-10 ahead at the interval. A number of players who may feature at Rugby World Cup 2011 impressed in the first half such as the backrow duo of Tomás Leonardi and Leonardo Senatore. Importantly, Los Pumas coach Santiago Phelan was at the ground for the match.
If the first half was good, the second was better for Los Pampas XV as they more than doubled their score and did so while only conceeding five points. Tuculet scored his third try in the 47th minute as the South Americans extended their lead to more than 20 points. The Vakle Falcons were certainly not going to go easy on Los Pampas however and they responded with a try to replacement Willie Odendaal. Tomás Leonardi picked up a loose pass to set up Belisario Agulla shortly thereafter as Los Pampas XV held no remorse in putting in a true 80 minute performance. It was followed by three tries in the final 11 minutes of playr with Tuculet scoring his fourth in the 69th minute and both replacement flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez and fullback Ramiro Moyano also putting their names on the score sheet. Moyano´s try was the best of the match as Los Pampas XV ran the ball out frmo their own goal line.

Vodacom Cup Table
Northern Zone

1 Golden Lions 26 
2 Griquas 22 
3 Pumas 18
4 Blue Bulls 16
5 Leopards 11 
6 Valke Falcons 10
7 Griffons 10 
8 Welwitschias 5 

Southern Zone

1 Pampas XV 32
2 Western Province 29
3 Sharks XV 26 
4 Free State 22 
5 Boland Kavaliers 16
6 Eastern Province 16 
7 SWD Eagles 13
8 Border 7

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