Sunday, February 4, 2018

USA v Argentina XVs - Match report



America v Argentina
A bit of wind though otherwise ideal weather conditions with temperatures in the mid-60s for kickoff at USA Eagles title defense of Americas Rugby Championship won last year on Argentine soil. USA claimed the premier Western Hemisphere rugby trophy on tournament points by drawing 27-all in the final match of the 2017 competition at Comodoro Rivadavia last spring. Argentina were keen to redress that result at the StubHub Center in Carson at yesterday’s gloaming.

Each side opened their innings with interior channel smashes that were well-contained interspersed with querying kicks long and lofty, though the boots were neither of sufficient height nor length to sustain possession. A yellow card issued at the sixth minute for Argentina’s inside center, Juan Cappiello would be the first of three in the opening half. The opposing flyhalves, American Will Magie, and his counterpart, Santiago González, traded non-productive shots on goal before Magie slotted a sticksplitting penalty goal from 30 meters out on the left post and it was USA 3, Argentina 0 in the 18th minute.
All on All in for kickoff at Carson on Saturday

Eagles loosehead, Titi Lamositele, picked up the second yellow ticket shown near the midpoint in the half and Argentina responded with a period of spirited play that saw their forwards probing deep into the Eagles 22 before penalty award and subsequent three-point goal by González drew scores at 3-all in minute 25.

USA backrow lock, Cam Dolan, picked up the final yellow card of a fractious first forty minutes and Argentina capitalized by sending its own 8man, Santiago Montagner angling over the paint for touch down after pickup from breakdown five meters out. Conversion by González from near touch and the visitors had a seven-point cushion, 10-3, at referee Chris Assmus’s halftime signal.

Overmuch and often errant kicking by both sides staggered flow of action in the first half. Each side would look to capitalize more fully on their possessions and establish clear and consistent advantage post-break; with Assmus going to pocket thrice during the period, fluidity fled the field at times, though physicality was ever evident.

Argentina opened the half, threatening deep in the USA territory closeby goal; Montagner stepped around, into and through a few would–be tacklers in the American business district ten meters from goal, en route to an apparent try, but a penalty levied for shepherding negated that fiver. A moment of brilliance from USA fullback Mike Te’o on a counter across midfield and beyond the travelers 10 meter line showed promise before knock-on killed that movement, but the home team with much better effect onset the second half.

Magie closed the gap to four in the 43rd minute with a penalty goal and 10-6 for Argentina then.
America’s relief corps began to take the field led by Glendale’s sparkplug scrumhalf Shaun Davies in the 55th minute and that infusive ignition resulted in a grounding by openside flanker Tony Lamborn at 59’; USA back in the lead only just with tallies of 11 and 10 closing on the hour mark.

More ball kept in hand and fine, countering, possession-maintaining function from the American backthree backs, led the razzling dazzle returns of #15, Te’o, and USA were looking dangerous, with purpose at breakdown and in the sets.

Magie went off, making way for Bedford Blues’ Will Hooley at the pivot, and the relief standoff slotted a brace of penalties for a 17-10 lead after driving a pair of tactical kicks directly to touch while ahead of the 22, which caused a bit of alarm on both occasions; but the US was up to the task of containment, turning ball over in determined defense to obtain relief.

With Eagles up by a converted try 17-10 and the sands running fast the glass, Argentina got right down to within meters of the American goaline, crossing yet failing to ground as the Eagles backbone set staunch and steadfast, denying their guests the dot that, with conversion, would have produced drawn scores; and USA held on for the victory at Assmus’ last blast

Scoring

United States of America – Try: Lamborn; Pen: Magie (2), Hooley (2);
Argentina - Try: Montagner; Con: González; Pen: González;

Match Official: Chris Assmus










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