Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Worcester vs Argentina - Juan Imhoff impreses but not much else

The final match before Rugby World Cup 2011 has come and gone for Los Pumas and it was a match that was tougher than many were expecting but was a better workout than the comparable fixture from  four years ago in which Argentina comfortably defeated Belgium. Today´s 21-15 victory at Sixways Stadium in Worcester was all about being a midweek match, nothing more, nothing less. The initial lineup for the match featured no players who played vs Wales on Saturday in Cardiff and thus the players in the squad were simply being given game time. Similar matches have, in the past, been losses for the international tier one sides. Since France 2007 South Africa and Australia have both lost matches against European club sides with the Springboks losing to Leicester and the Wallabies to Munster.

Los Pumas were given a scare vs the Worcester Warriors, without question, as neither team could score a try in the first half. Worcester were able to play their own style and took a 9-6 lead into the interval as flyhalf Joe Carlisle kicked three penalties and Argentina´s Nicolás Sánchez kicked two. The secondhalf started off in a similar way with the flyhalves exchanging penalties before the new head-shaven Pumas winger, Juan Imhoff scored the games first try in the 54th minute. Carlisle responded with a penalty before a second try to Imhoff, in the 74th minute, guaranteed a win for the South Americans.

Despite the low-scoring match there were positives for Argentina. Nicolás Sánchez had a good match at flyhalf and showed superior kicking abilities to that of Felipe Contepomi vs Wales. He must now be a serious option to face England in the World Cup which would mean Contepomi would play inside centre with Santiago Fernández missing out. Uncapped secondrower, Tomas Vallejos had a solid match, especially in the lineouts as he looks like being a good bench option for the match vs England. It was a forgettable moment for unwanted xcrumhalf, Agustín Figuerola who was forced from the field midway through the first half with an injury which meant Nicolás Vergallo played one hour of the match after playing the full 80 minutes vs Wales three days earlier. Figuerola was dropped from the squad and will not play in the World Cup.

Worcester Warriors

15 Errie Claassens
14 Marcel Garvey
13 Alex Grove
12 Dale Rasmussen (captain)
11 Josh Drauniniu
10 Joe Carlisle
9 Jonny Arr
8 Kai Horstmann
7 Jake Abbott
6 Neil Best
5 Craig Gillies
4 James Percival
3 Oliver Tomaszczyk
2 Chris Fortey
1 Matt Mullan

Los Pumas

1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Agustín Creevy (captain)
3 Maximiliano Bustos
4 Tomás Vallejos
5 Mariano Galarza
6 Juan Manuel Leguizamón
7 Alejandro Campos
8 Leonardo Senatore
9 Agustín Figuerola
10 Nicolás Sánchez
11 Juan Imhoff
12 Gabriel Ascarate
13 Agustín Gosio
14 Lucas Borges
15 Lucas González Amorosino

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