|Photo Rugby Fun|
Argentina´s transition from amateurism to professionalism was boosted earlier this morning as Los Pampas XV won the Pacific Cup final in Sydney to be crowned champions without losing a match. The 36-21 victory over the A team of Super Rugby side the Queensland Reds was hard fought but a late surge saw the South Americans come out on top.
The make-up of the Pampas XV side in 2014 is vastly different to that of 2011. The 2011 side won the Vodacom Cup in South Africa but did so with many players firmly established in the senior Pumas squad. The team that faced the Reds A earlier today, was, in contrast notably younger and aside from captain Martín Landajo had no players involved whose places are established in the Pumas squad.
Succeeding in winning the tournament was therefore of note. It was a competition featuring the A teams of the Australian Super Rugby franchises in addition to Junior Japan and the leading domestic based players from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. Argentina´s leading domestic based players were therefore taking on their counterparts from four Tier Two rugby nations and Australia.
The South Americans began the match strongly with two early tries to Martín Landajo and Manuel Montero. The same two players would also score late tries in the match to seal the result after the Australians had taken the lead. Both Román Miralles and replacement fly half Santiago González Iglesias also scored tries as the South Americans were able to cross an impressive six times. The goal kicking was less reliable as, not for the first time in the tournament, Patricio Fernández had issues with his accuracy.
The tournament victory was important for Argentine rugby and has been ackowledged as such by Argentina´s test players. The likes of Julio Farías Cabello, Mariano Galarza, Juan Martín Hernández, Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Leonardo Senatore have all expressed their delight in the victory on social media.
Los Pampas XV will remain in Australia to take on Super Rugby side the ACT Brumbies in Canberra. The friendly fixture is to be played during what is a by week for the Brumbies. The match will be played on Wednesday.