Monday, May 23, 2011

Pumas shine in Amlin Challenge Cup Final

London side the Harlequins are champions of the 2010-2011 Amlin Challenge Cup after securing a dramatic late 19-18 victory in Cardiff vs Paris side Stade Français on Friday evening. The result has significant implications for both sides as the Harlequins have now secured a place in next seasons Heineken Cup at the expense of Stade Français. The Paris based side looked like they had the game in the bag as Argentine international fullback, Martín Rodriguez Gurruchaga, slotted a difficult long-rang angeld drop goal in the 72nd minute which put Stade Français 18-12 ahead. It was, however, a case of one Puma being silenced by another as Pumas winger Gonzalo Camacho went over to score the games only try in the 77th minute of the match. His try cut the Paris lead to one point and with former All Blacks flyhalf, Nick Evana slotting the conversion the London based side went one point ahead and, in doing so, closed out the match and were crowned Amlin Challenge Cup champions.

The victory marks the third occassion that the Harlequins have won the European Challenge Cup after previsouly winning in 2001 and 2004. The Quins got to the final after outplaying former two time Heineken Cup champions, Munster in Limerick. It was further heartbreak for the Parisians who have had their worst ever season in the Top 14 Orange. Stade Français can hope to go one better next season as their loss means they will be playing in the Amlin Challenge Cup again and not the Heineken Cup. Martín Rodriguez and Gonzalo Camacho are certain starters for Los Pumas at Rugby World Cup 2011and will combine as two member of the back-three. Pumas loosehead prop, Rodrigo Roncero will also be in Los Pumas team for New Zealand 2011. he started the final in the Paris #1 shirt and was joined in the pack by Pumas backrower, Juan Leguizamón who came on as a first half replacement. Argentina born Italian international backrower and captain, Sergio Parisse started in the backrow for Stade Français Paris.

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