|Photo UAR: UAR President Luis Castillo Congratulates Tucumán|
Los Naranjas are the Argentine champions after Tucumán won the Argentine Provincial Championship by defeating Rosario 33-20 at the Jockey Club in Rosario earlier today.
Involved in the match were a number of players certain to be in the Los Pampas XV squad for the 2014 season. All eyes were on one player whom the Argentine rugby media has placed a lot of hope on - Patricio Fernández. The Rosario fly half remains just 20 years of age but has been spoken of as a future international player, possibly providing back-up to Santiago Cordero in 2014.
Fernández landed four first half penalties and one in the second to complete a personal haul of fifteen points. His team, though, was behind throughout the match as Tucumán had control of the match early on and never let go. A 7th minute try to winger Augusto López opened the scoring and when he scored his second try Tucumán was leading 14-6 shortly before the half-hour mark. Two Fernández penalties closed the gap but with Máximo Ledesma landing a penalty in the 39th minute Tucumán went into half time leading 17-12.
Ledesma was replaced at half time which saw the goalkicking responsibilities given to Javier Rojas whom was called up by Daniel Hourcade for Argentina´s three test November tour of Europe. Rojas made one appearance as a mid-field replacement and played the match for Tucumán at inside centre. His mid-field colleague was Matías Orlando, another young Pampas player to have impressed previously under Hourcade coached teams.
Rojas kicked penlaties in the 46th and 51st minutes before he then converted a try scored by left winger Macario Villaluenga. The try all but ended the match for Rosario but with back-rower Ignacio Fantín scoring in the 59th minute there was hope. But with neither team crossing for tries in the final quarter the only points were scored from the boots of Rojas and Fernández as Tucumán finished thirteen points the better to be crowned Argentine champions.
Players of note for the home team included wingers Dan Issack and Tomás Carrió who formed a back-three with former Puma Román Miralles. Fernández formed a halves combination with Pedro Imhoff while the forwards featured lesser known players. Tucumán had former Glasgow Warriors prop Germán Araoz and former Racing Métro back-rower Alvaro Galindo starting in the pack while Rojas and Orlando were arguably the most notable backs for the winners.