Friday, March 7, 2014

Los Pampas XV impress against Waratahs A in Pacific Cup

Centre Matías Moroni scored a try
The future Argentine rugby franchise to enter Super Rugby in 2016 made it two from two in the Pacific Cup as the South Americans completed a 31-16 win over Gen Blue, the A team of Super Rugby side the New South Wales Waratahs. The three tries to one victory sees Los Pampas XV sitting at the top of Pool B and doing so with a game in hand. 

The Waratahs do not have a Super Rugby match this weekend. Instead the Sydney based franchise has a bye. As such coach Michael Cheika released some players from the senior Waratahs squad for the fixture. In fact there were a total of eleven Waratahs Super Rugby players involved for the A side, known as Gen Blue. 

Taking to the field were players including Rob Horne, Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance, Cam Crawford, Pat McCutcheon and former Bath outside centre Matt Carraro. Their presence for the Australian team indicated that the team was taking Los Pampas XV very seriously and prior to the match Cheika told reporters that he considers Los Pampas XV to be the best team in the Pacific Cup. The Argentine side entered having beaten the A side of the ACT Brumbies last weekend and also beating the Waratahs A in a warm-up fixture.

The results gave Martín Gaitán and Raúl Pérez the confidence to rotate their players for the fixture in Sydney and this saw six different players starting including a new captain. One player rested was IRB Junior World Championship star Santiago Cordero. He was given the match off due in part to the Pampas squad having some impressive wingers. Starting were Manuel Montero and Matías Orlando, two players with the potential to become regulars in Los Pumas over time. 

Montero did not have an ideal match those as the Buenos Aires winger had to leave in just the sixth minute with a head injury. He was replaced by Tomás Carrío who went on to have a good match. The loss of Montero coincided with the first try of the match as Matt Carraro scored. Los Pampas XV hit back with a penalty to Santiago González Iglesias who was given a start ahead of 19 year old prospect Patricio Fernández. The successful penalty made it 7-3 to the home side. 

The South Americans closed the gap to one as González Iglesias kicked his second penalty after the Argentine side had demonstrated its superiority in the scrum. Brendan McKibbin responded with a penalty of his own in the 31st minute while González Iglesias closed the half to make it 10-9 to the Australians. McKibbin extended the lead once more to open the second half but in the 55th minute Los Pampas XV took the lead with Tomás Cubelli scoring a try. González Iglesias landed the conversion and McKibbin responded again by landing a penalty five minutes later. 

With the match poised after fifty minutes the South Americans took control ofor the remainder of the match. Two tries and a conversion ensured that Argentina´s quest to have a franchise approved for Super Rugby was on the right track. Carrió went over in the 55th minute for a try converted by González Iglesias whom kicked a penalty ten minutes later while Matías Moroni completed the scoring with a try in  the 78th minute. 

With the competition having short turn-arounds Los Pampas XV will play Samoa A on Monday in Canberra.

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