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Americas Rugby Championship Title Game: Argentina XV vs USA
- Updated: March 4, 2017
The final weekend of the Americas Rugby Championship culminates with what ends up being the title match. While this game isn’t worth any points in the World Rugby standings, it’s worth plenty of points in terms of respect.
Last year’s ARC opened with the US stunning the Argentinian side and many rugby experts with a 35-35 tie; this year, a win would place the Eagles on an upward trajectory. While Argentina XV is a developmental side for Tier 1 Argentina, a victory against the highly talented squad is a clear indication of improvement for the US and a signal they are ready to join the unofficial Tier 1.5 with teams like Georgia, Romania, and Japan. A victory for the Jaguars would continue to demonstrate Argentina’s dominance in the Americas and further solidify their standing among the top rugby nations in the world.
For the Eagles, an experienced squad will take the pitch. one major change will be Ben Cima to fullback, shifting Mike Te’o to the wing placing Cima’s more reliable hands under the high ball; Te’o is a strong outside runner and Cima plays like a natural fullback. Keys to victory for the Eagles are to minimize penalties, maintain possession, attack a suspect Argentinian center defense with Tony Lamborn and Cam Dolan, and tackle at first contact. In other words; play the best and most consistent match they’ve played since their last meeting…the 35-35 tie.
Argentina XV, on the other hand, need to keep doing what they do best; make the Eagles pay for every mistake, attack the outside with their stable of talented wingers, and continue to cover their suspect midfield defense with team speed.
Players to watch for the Eagles are flankers Tony Lamborn and Cam Dolan, as well as winger Mike Te’o. For the Jaguars look for lock Ignacio Larrague and scrumhalf Sebastián Cancelliere to shine, both are likely soon to be Los Pumas and Jaguares.
As an impartial observer…go Eagles…I expect to see an evenly…go Eagles…well-contested match between two…go Eagles…extremely talented squads. Any accusation of bias is outlandish.