Saturday, May 16, 2015

CONSUR Cup: Los Pumas win test in Montevideo

Photo Sofía Balda URU
Rugby World Cup 2015 teams Uruguay and Argentina competed in the CONSUR Cup this afternoon in Montevideo in a fully capped international. Without having access to those involved in elite or second division rugby abroad the teams met in a fully capped international with the winner officially becoming the South American Champion. Despite the missing players both countries fielded a large contingent of players in consideration for places at the World Cup. Having been upset last weekend by Chile pressure was on Uruguay to deliver and Los Teros performed well in losing 36-14, a notably smaller margin than that from twelve months earlier.  

Los Pumas defeated Los Teros 35-14 this afternoon in an international match being played for the CONSUR Cup in Montevideo. For both teams the fixture served as Rugby World Cup preparation with it, for Argentina, being the first capped international of the year. Neither team was at full strength but there were, nonetheless, players from both countries involved who are going to be playing at the global showpiece event. 

In what was a hard-fought victory for Argentina neither team had players yellow carded. Instead patience was used by both teams and Uruguay proved to be in superior physical conditions to that of previous years by competing throughout the match and showing signs of increased stamina. 

Uruguay started strongly with winger Jerónimo Etchverry scoring the opening points with a third minute penalty. In search of improvement from the backs Etcheverry was moved to fly half for the match and he proved to be more than a capable option at pivot for the World Cup. He had Uruguay up 9-5 after 21 minutes with Facundo Isa scoring the only try in the opening quarter. 

Uruguay's lead, however, was short lived, as Martín Landajo put Argentina back in the lead with a 23rd minute try which was converted by Santiago González Iglesias and quickly followed by another with hooker Matías Cortese crossing in the 26th minute. First half scoring was brought to a close with Argentina being awarded a penalty try from a scrum. 

Leading 24-9 at the interval Los Pumas took time to score in the second half and when González Iglesias did so Uruguay hit back immediately. Winger Leandro Leivas' 56th minute unconverted try made it 29-14 and set up an interesting final quarter. The visitors, though, would score the only remaining points with debutant Juan León Novillo crossing in the 66th minute.  

Both Uruguay and Argentina are to play again next weekend. Uruguay will play host to Fiji in the first of two international matches while Argentina is to face Paraguay away in Asunción. For Uruguay the series against Fiji is to be vital due to the two teams being grouped together in Pool A of Rugby World Cup 2015. 

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