In the second of two World Rugby Challenge warm-up fixtures in Oceania the Pampas XV recorded an important victory. The Argentine side defeated the 'A' team of the Auckland based Blues Super Rugby franchise at Pukuranga Rugby Club in Auckland today. In a well-fought contest the South Americans came out on top by scoring three tries to two to overcome a 16-12 half time deficit and win the contest 19-16 by keping the New Zealanders scoreless in the second half. Lisandro Ahualli de Chazal, Ramiro Moyano and Santiago Cordero (pictured to the right) crossed for tries for the South Americans while Santiago González Iglesias converted two tries in scoring four points.
As was the case in Sydney against the Waratahs 'A' sied Gen Blue last Friday the Pampas XV proved to be a competitive team against a team made up of Super Rugby squad and academy members. The 19-16 victory confirms the Pampas XV a favorites for the World Rugby Pacific Challenge to be played this month in Fiji.
The Argentine side was forced to dig deep to win the contest in Auckland. The Blues 'A' side featuring Super Rugby stars such as Tevita Li and Cullum Retallick started wel and took an early lead with a second minute penalty. Argentina hit back shortly to score the opening try of the match in the 9th minute with Lisandro Ahualli de Chazal crossing from a maul.
Ahualli de Chazal was a late replacement for Facundo Isa who dropped to the bench. The Tucumán back-rower took his opportunity well to press for further selection as did other players. The Pampas XVC team, though, needed to not get ahead of themselves as Li crossed for the home side to reclaim the lead midway through the first half.
The blow-for-blow theme of the first half continued with wingers Ramiro Moyano and Matt Vaaega both crossing. Neither team scored any points in the third quarter of the match which saw Santiago Cordero's 62nd minute try being the only points scored after the interval. With the conversion from Santiago González Iglesias the Pampas XV went three points clear and held on to complete an important win.
The Pampas XV will begin the World Rugby Challenge on Tuesday March 10 against the home side Fiji 'A'.