The Runner Sports

Americas Rugby Championship Week 3 Review

Chile 10 v Argentina 45: Chile won this match, well ok, it was a moral victory. In a match that could have easily been a 70-point annihilation, Chile showed improvement. For a developing nation, that’s a win. Both sides fielded secondary squads, Argentina started several sevens players looking to transition and the match was sloppy early. Argentina looked to take over at 15 minute mark but handling errors kept several tries off the board, which became a constant issue. Chile’s defense grew stronger as the match wore on, their ruck and try-line defense were often times impressive in their strength. Chile’s outside defense remained a problem area and once Argentina began to exploit it, drawing play to the center of the field to create space, Chile was exposed. By the 50th minute the Chileans were gassed, as reserves came in the lack of experience became more evident. Massive Argentinian and Jaguars lock Ignacio Larrague made his presence felt by trucking several defenders, leaving Chilean bodies in his wake; his message to the national squad clear, I’m ready. Chile resorted to chippy play and attempted to frustrate their South American rival, another sign of inexperience, but their defense looked much improved from previous weeks. Argentina was impressive in the fact they fielded a third-level developmental team with transitioning sevens players and still had their way with Chile.

Uruguay 23 v Brazil 12: This match was a wonderful battle of attrition; a slobber-knocking mass of rucks and mauls. Brazil attempted to utilize their soccer influenced attack early but quickly abandoned it in favor of a power game to match the Uruguayan’s relentless attack, playing right into Los Teros hands. Uruguay dominated the line-outs and the tenacious inside game chewed up the clock. Brazil never really had a chance to build on phases and turnovers just gave Uruguay a chance to eat more clock and wear down Brazil. Brazil’s offense is too centered around their kick attack, be it for territory or scoring attempts. Once Brazil gives up the ball the opponent often chews up the clock against their undersized defense. In truth, it appears as though they are trying to marry their soccer heritage with their rugby future and it’s not working. New Zealand-born flyhalf Josh Reeves often looks frustrated and out of place as he attempted to direct an attack that soon goes to boot. The Uruguayan ground attack is impressive but lacks that outside speed to keep other nations guessing. They’re coming at you up the middle…no question. Defensive lapses and predictability cause gaps in lines more experienced teams can exploit. Uruguay is a developing nation but they’re gaining experience and skill quickly.

Canada 34 v USA 51: The most exciting match of the weekend wasn’t as close as the score indicates; this match was dominated both by US excellence and mistakes. Canadian winger Taylor Paris was the beneficiary of US mistakes as he scored two long tries, catching the Eagles defense in transition and out of place.  Canada’s offense was effective but the reality is US mistakes kept the Canucks in this match. Rugby Canada seems genuinely split between supporting their sevens team and the XVs squad and it’s reflected in a lackluster and uninspired team. Next week against Uruguay will be a test of whether they’re holding strong or on the decline. For the Eagles, the future looks to be moving upward but Chile will be a test. The US remains its own toughest opponent; will we see a rugby squad determined to dominate an inferior Chilean squad or will we see the overconfident Americans who allow Los Condores to get in their heads. Next week the real Eagles will be revealed.