Saturday, April 25, 2015

CONSUR: Chile overcome Brazil in South American Championship

Photo Portal do Rugby
A South American contest with increased importance took place this evening in Santiago, Chile. With Brazil and Chile being two of the six Americas countries involved in the advanced stage talks to establish a Pan American Six Nations their South American Championship fixture carried with it added spice. Together with Argentina and Uruguay from South America and Canada and the USA from North America Argentina's World Cup Council representative, Agustín Pichot is in the final stages of establishing a new intercontinental annual competition. The fifth and sixth ranked teams from the Americas played in a round three South American Championship today. 

Chile's opening fixture of the 2015 South American Championship was eventful. The number three ranked South American country ran out comfortable winners against the fourth ranked Brazil. The 32-3 victory went some way to making up for the 24-16 loss in São Paulo twelve months ago but also shed some light on the issue facing Brazil at present - the Olympic Games. Those likely to represent Brazil in Rio de Janeiro 2016 have been excluded from international competition at test level for more than twelve months.

Chile's loss in São Paulo in 2014 also featured an understrength team. issues surrounding selection at the time have been resolved as Chile was able to call upon some players based abroad for today's fixture. Involved were Pablo Huete and Ramón Ayarza, players based in France playing in the second division.

Such players had not featured in the 2014 fixture. Their return, in addition to others, resulted in Chile having the better of Brazil in most areas of play. Brazil, nonetheless, showed great competitiveness in the scrum to win penalties. Chile, though, demonstrated authority in the lineouts and at the breakdown.

Fly half Javier Valderrama took little time to open the scoring with a well-struck penalty. Chile had an opportunity to level through Valderrama's opposite Rafael Morales but the Brazilian fly half's attempt sailed wide. Brazil was made to suffer as a result as Valderrama slotted three more attempts to give Chile a 12-0 lead after 30 minutes.

Brazil got on the board when awarded a penalty from a collapsed scrum but 12-3 was as good as it would get for the Portuguese speaking country as Chile continued to dictate play. Inside centre Cristián Onetto made it 15-3 at the interval as he landed a drop goal. The score, though, could have been closer had Morales had a better day with the boot.

The twelve point half time advantage was extended to fifteen when Valderrama landed an early second half penalty. Brazil, though, continued to have opportunities but was unable to act on them successfully. The tryless deadlock was broken in the 69th minute when Chilean left winger Italo Zunino darted down the blindside and got past attempted tackles to score. Replacement second-rower Francisco Hurtado added another ten minutes later to give Los Condores a convincing win.

The result places Chile in pole position to join Argentina and Uruguay in the 2015 CONSUR Cup. Los Condores will face Paraguay away on May 03 in the South American Championship while Brazil will play host to Paraguay on May 09 in Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul. 

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