Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Argentina defeat Scotland to Qualify for Semi Finals of IRB Junior World Championship

History was made earlier today in South Africa as Los Pumitas defeated Scotland 17-5 to become the first ever Argentine side to qualify for the Semi Finals of the IRB Junior World Championship. The match was played in wet conditions with a strong wind against Argentina in the first half. Both teams looked tired but it was the South Americans who played the better rugby as Los Pumitas controlled the match, scoring three tries to one. The star of the show was scrumhalf Felipe Escurra from Buenos Aires´ Hindú club who scored two tries and directed the play very well. Flyhalf Joaquin Paz converted one of the two tries to give Argentina a 12-0 half time lead. After the break it was Los Pumitas again in control with backrower Leandro Ramella scoring just beside the touchline in the first minute after play started again. Scotland hit back in the 54th minute with a try to Jamie Bhattie which was converted by Mitch Eadie. From there, however, Argentina was able to close out the game and celebrate a first ever appearance in the Semi Finals of the IRB Junior World Championship.

In winning the Pool, which also included Australia and France, Los Pumitas will take on the host nation, South Africa in the Semi Finals. The South Africans recoverd from a first up loss against Ireland to defeat Italy and England to claim the final Semi Final spot. The other Semi Final will be contested between Wales and New Zealand with the two sides having played each other in the group stage with Wales pulling off a major shock in defeating the Baby Blacks. Wales and New Zealand were gifted a nice draw which included Fiji and Samoa and in picking up bonus point wins over these sides, Wales qualifies as the top side ahead of Argentina who were the only other undefeated side. It is not the end of the tournament for the remaining sides, however, as they will all play it out to determine the final places for all teams. The battle for fifth to eighth place will see France take on Australia and England taking on Ireland, with a second match to follow depending on the result. The battle for Nineth - Twelfth place will see the likes of Scotland, Italy, Fiji and Samoa in line for these places.

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