The Runner Sports

Americas Rugby Championship Week 4 Review

Week 4 of the Americas Rugby Championship had it all; flash, fights, finishes, and frustration. From the elegance of Argentina to the power of Uruguay, from the rise of the US to the fall of Canada; this week separated the water from the oil.

Argentina 79 v Brazil 7At the bottom of the world in Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world, Argentina XV fielded a more experienced squad against Brazil as they prepare to defend their title against the US. A very different Os Tupis squad gave Brazil a glimmer of hope early with spirited defense and a well-coordinated attack. Brazilian winger Moises Duque and New Zealand-born flyhalf Josh Reeves led a valiant Brazilian effort against Argentina XV who had to work hard for their 22-7 halftime lead. The second half, however, saw the emergence of Argentinian squad the hometown crowd came to see. The second 40 was a dominating showcase of skill, speed, and power as Argentina took command quickly after the restart and never looked back. Budding Argentinian star Sebastian Cancelliere continued his stellar play and raising his hand to be noticed by Super Rugby’s Jaguares as Argentina XV blew the doors off an overmatched Brazilian squad.

Brazil seems caught between contrasting styles and are attempting to blend an attack their offensive speed and defensive fitness can’t keep up with.

As for Argentina XV, a very clear signal was sent to the US squad looking to dethrone the reigning champions…you better be ready.

Chile 9 v USA 57: The versatility of the Eagles attack was on display early, highlighted by flanker Todd Clever swinging wide into a wing position early and often. Chile brought a different, smaller, and more athletic look to the starting squad but rugby skill remains their Achilles Heel.

Ball handling errors early by both sides kept the match close for 50 minutes but lack of fitness by Chile and US skill ended the match with a flourish of tries.

Chilean regression is making an argument for earlier inclusion of relegation/promotion as Paraguay and Colombia continue to improve. Los Condores have a lot of work to do in skill development and need to find their identity.

The Eagles will need to avoid a slow and sloppy start against Argentina XV, the US needs to win this tournament to establish their credibility as a Tier 1.5 side, to lose to a Tier 1 development side will only highlight the gap that still remains.

Uruguay 17 v Canada 13: Uruguay dominated the first 40 and hung on as Canada surged back late in this highly entertaining smash-mouth slobber knocker. Kicks, tries, fights, mauls, scrums, more fights; this match had it all for the old school rugger. A brutal 80 minutes that was chalk full of physicality and littered with bodies.

Uruguay overpowered the Canadians who couldn’t match Los Teros pack or physical defense. The game was played predominantly up the center of the pitch, playing perfectly into the Uruguayan physical game. Canada looked uninspired yet again as Uruguay made a very clear statement as to who was the third power in the Americas.

Canada needs to straighten out their issues at home with Rugby Canada as it is clearly affecting play in the field, their steady decline will need to be addressed if the expect to challenge for a trip to the World Cup.

Uruguay has sent a message with this ARC, they intend to further develop and eventually compete on the world stage.

As the ARC heads into its final week the US and Argentina XV are set for a winner takes all match, Uruguay is on the precipice of joining the upper level of Tier 2, Canada is on the verge of sliding into irrelevance, while Brazil and Chile give rise to the question of relegation.

 

STANDINGS

Wins Draws Losses Differential Points
 Argentina XV 4 0 0 +166 19
 USA 4 0 0 +119 19
 Uruguay 2 0 2 -36 10
 Canada 1 0 3 -14 7
 Brazil 1 0 3 -117 4
 Chile 0 0 4 -118 0

 

 

-By Jason Graves