Americas Rugby Championship: Argentina Jaguars Outclass USA Eagles Selects

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Courtesy of USA Rugby
Courtesy of USA Rugby

RWU Friend Ray’s Rugby is back to review the ARC matches on matchday 1, courtesy of his blog.

LANGFORD, BC – Tournament favorites Argentina romped to victory over the United States in the Americas Rugby Championship opener in Langford on Saturday afternoon. Neither side was at their best but Los Jaguares looked capable of shifting up another gear, an ominous sign considering the ease at which they bested the Americans. Barring a complete meltdown in composure this side should coast to their fifth consecutive title this week.

The difference in class was evident almost immediately, as the Americans found themselves deep in their own half defending for dear life with the opening whistle still faintly reverberating through the air. Argentina knocked on, but took one against the head and moved it quickly to left wing Dan Isaack who went over for his first of three tries on the day. The Eagles scrum has been the subject of derision for quite some time, so much so that it was a relief to see them merely backpeddling instead of collapsing completely. Olive Kilifi was under pressure all game, while Nick Wallace was not enjoying the attention of Matías Díaz.

With the ball finally in their hands, the Selects put together a few phases and then a picture perfect cross kick from Adam Siddall landed in the hands of Tim Maupin, and the winger stepped back inside to cross under the posts. It put some pep in their step as they jogged back for the restart, but any flames of hope were quickly extinguished as they gifted possession back to the Jaguars deep in their own end, and from a rolling maul they drove over the line, with captain Rodrigo Báez emerging with the ball. A quick follow up found Díaz loitering with intent on the wing, and the big prop trundled over to stretch the lead to two converted tries.

Argentina seemed to lose concentration for a period following, and after sustained pressure Chad London handed off a would be tackler to scamper for what looked to be a crucial try right before half time. Siddall’s conversion brought his side within one score, and somehow the United States were still in it after forty minutes.

Courtesy of USA Rugby
Courtesy of USA Rugby

Within five minutes of the second period the gas tank was running low and with the defense in tatters Isaack crossed for his second and third in a matter of seconds, effectively ending the contest. Patricio Fernández, clearly enjoying himself alongside scrumhalf Felipe Ezcurra, rounded out the scoring to take home a personal haul of 16 points. It might have been 2 more had the officials not bizarrely ruled his last conversion attempt a miss, though it appeared to go inside the right post.

Mike Tolkin can take some positives from the performances of Kyle Sumsion and John Cullen up front, who both looked willing combatants throughout, and Matt Trouville looked comfortable, though not dynamic. Andrew Suniula got over the gainline on several occasions and Lemoto Filikitonga looks a real prospect. In fact most of the players will find some good mixed in with the bad, but the consistency wasn’t there and at this level the mistakes add up quickly.

One area that will need to be quickly addressed is the restarts, both kicking off and receiving. On at least three occasions the Americans made a hash of it and gave up possession and field position. On one short kickoff it was run straight back under the posts. The scrum woes can’t be solved overnight, but those types of schoolboy errors can. With Canada next up on Wednesday, it’s whether or not they cut those out that will likely be the difference between victory or another defeat.

Saturday, October 11, 14:30 PST, Langford

08 mins – D. Isaack try 0-5
09 mins – P. Fernández con 0-7
16 mins – T. Maupin try 5-7
17 mins – A. Siddall con 7-7
20 mins – R. Báez try 7-12
21 mins – P. Fernández con 7-14
24 mins – M. Díaz try 7-19
25 mins – P. Fernández con 7-21
37 mins – C. London try 12-21
38 mins – A. Siddall con 14-21
47 mins – D. Isaack try 14-26
49 mins – D. Isaack try 14-31
50 mins – P. Fernández con 14-33
58 mins – P. Fernández pen 14-36
71 mins – P. Fernández try 14-41

56 mins – P. Thiel yellow (team infringements)
79 mins – B. Ormson yellow (foul play)

T. Hall; L. Filikitonga (T. Stanfill 76), C. London, A. Suniula, T. Maupin; A. Siddall (J. Hundley 76), S. Suniula (N. Augspurger 79); N. Wallace (A. MacLellan 76), P. Thiel (Z. Fenoglio 76), O. Kilifi (B. Tarr 74); J. Cullen (Z. Fenoglio 64-66), G. Harriman (B. Doyle 61); L. Stanfill (capt.) (B. Pinkelman 74), K. Sumsion, M. Trouville.

R. Miralles (F. Giménez 55); F. Barrea, J. Paz, B. Ormson, D. Isaack (J.I. Brex 55); P. Fernández, F. Ezcurra (G. Bertranou 79); L. Noguera Paz (R. Tejerizo 64), M. Cortese (J. Montoya 76), M. Díaz (L. Martínez 64); G. Petti (J.C. Guillemain 55), M. Alemanno; R. Báez (capt.), J. Ortega Desio, F. Isa (F. Panessi 64).

Referee: A. Aso (JRFU)
Assistants: C. Assmus (RC) & D. Smortchevsky (RC)

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About Rays Rugby 24 Articles
I have played rugby since 1993, and began coaching and refereeing as well in 2005. I started writing in 1998, first published on the old Rugby Canada website followed by the National Rugby Post, Goff On Rugby, and I featured as a columnist for the new-defunct Canadian Rugby News before taking a long writing sabbatical while I pursued other interests. I have kept up my knowledge of the game, however, and have returned to comment and inform, only this time on all rugby matters, not just those Canadian. Thanks for reading!