Sunday, October 21, 2012

Los Jaguares win 2012 Americas Rugby Championship

Argentina´s regional superiority in rugby was underlined last night as Los Jaguares defeated Canada A 28-9 in British Columbia to be crowned winners of the Americas Rugby Championship. Before the A teams of Canada and Argentina took the field there was another match as Uruguay A faced the USA Select XV. The USA was happy to field an inexperienced side throughout the tournament and it saw both Canada A and Los Jaguares complete big victories. Uruguay A gave both Canada A and Los Jaguares tougher matches and this made Uruguay A favorites heading into the battle for third place. Uruguay won the match 26-8 by scoring two tries to one and deserved the win as it played with more control, making fewer errors and creating more opportunities. 

The Canadians staretd well against Los Jaguares in the second match of the evening. Flyhalf Conor Braid was on target early to put the North Americans ahead but Los Jaguares fought back well to hold a 13-6 half time lead. The only try of the first half was scored by fullback Ramiro Moyano. Braid again scored first after the interval but 13-9 was as close as Canada A would come as Los Jaguares conceeded no more points in the second half but played well with centres Jeronimo De la Fuente and Matias Orlando both scoring tries. Curiously of the Argentine sides three tries all were scored by backs. It continues the evolution that has come from participating in the Vodacom Cup with coach Daniel Hourcade looking to have his players break the tradition of tight ball forward play that has been the historical stereotype of Los Pumas. 

All four teams will see players in action next month as part of the November Internationals. Canada and Uruguay are likely to feature more players from their A teams than Argentina and the USA but all four, nonetheless, should have some selected. From Los Jaguares the players in line for selection are arguably Tomás Cubelli, Tomás De La Vega and Manuel Montero. All three featured for Los Pumas in June when Argentina won two of its three matches with wins against Italy and France. They are all member of the PladAR system and Los Pampas XV. 

The 2012 edition was the third in the competitions history. The tournament was played previously in 2010 in North America and in 2011 in Córdoba. Los Jaguares also won both events. The tournament is a re-birth, in some ways, of the former Pan American Championship (PARA) which was played between 1995 and 2003. Argentina won all five editions of the tournament with Canada finishing second on each occasion except for 2003 when it was third behind Argentina and the USA. The difference between the Americas Rugby Championship and PARA are that PARA awarded test caps while the Americas Rugby Championship exists to bridge the gap between domestic amateur rugby and test level. It serves the interests of all four participating nations and showcases the collectivity of North and South America´s leading rugby nations. 

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