It was a forgettable week for Americas players in Europe. Despite a full compliment of club action across several divisions only a handful came away with noteworthy efforts. The Pumas continue to stutter in the Rugby Championship though there was room for one. Instead it’s the last two rounds of the World Rugby u20 Trophy and the one-off match between the Glendale Merlins and Ontario Arrows that contribute the biggest portion of our team this week.
1 – Carlos Muzzio (Mont-de-Marsan) The spearhead of a forward pack that steamrolled Vannes at Stade Guy Boniface. Gave Paga Tafili a lesson in scrummaging and gave his usual contributions in the loose.
2 – Agustín Creevy (Argentina) His team were outmatched against the All Blacks but the captain never backed down. Numerous carries and a couple turnovers won in defense.
3 – Cole Keith (Canada) It wasn’t the tournament his team hoped it would turn out to be, but they at least ended on a high. Keith was outstanding on Sunday, obliterating the Hong Kong scrum and even rumbling over for a try. Big things are expected from this one.
4 – Samu Manoa (Toulon) Robbed of the No 8 shirt again this week because of a number of candidates and relatively few in the second row. At his destructive best on both sides of the ball against Toulouse. Unlucky to miss out is Chilean lock Pablo Huete who scored for Bayonne.
5 – Matt Beukeboom (Canada) Visibly frustrated against Chile and he took it out on some unfortunate ball carriers with a couple ferocious tackles. Added more on Sunday against Hong Kong. Canada’s best forward over the course of the tournament.
6 – Alfonso Escobar (Chile) Led by example as his charges defeated first Canada and then Fiji in successive matches. Scored once against Canada and defended like a man possessed against Fiji. Uruguay’s James McCubbin scored twice against Hong Kong and earned strong consideration.
7 – John Quill (Glendale Merlins) Another who had the No 8 on his back but in our eyes he’s a flanker through-and-through. Might have stolen the man-of-the-match award with his spectacular dummy in the first half alone.
8 – Santiago Civetta (Uruguay) His two tries against Namibia had more to do with footwork than anything as they came off the back of a totally dominant scrum. Tremendous work rate in the Montevideo mud cinches his spot in the team.
9 – Will McDougall-Percillier (Canada) Handed an opportunity thanks to Fraser Hurst’s ill discipline and the 18-year-old grabbed it with both hands. Showed a maturity in his delivery well beyond his years and grabbed an opportune try. Even the commentators were impressed with his performance.
10 – Will Magie (Glendale Merlins) Composed and accurate. A wide ball here, a kick-pass there. Showed the complete package as he controlled the game against Ontario. Only a couple missed conversions tarnished an excellent match.
11 – John Ryberg (Glendale Merlins) Observers could be forgiven thinking a front row was loitering on the wing. The wrecking ball bashed his way over for two tries and might have made the hat-trick had he not dropped a sitter. We’ll blame the tape over his face courtesy of a blood injury for that one.
12 – Agustín Della Corte (Uruguay) The Teritos captain powered over for two tries against Hong Kong and then led his side to a victory once again over Namibia. Already capped at senior level, there are surely many more to come in his future.
13 – Lucca Avelli (Chile) Two wonderful tries against Canada and then 80 minutes of defense against the much larger Fijians on Sunday. One of several from the Chilean side who will be challenging for senior honors in the future. Chad London had a strong game for Glendale, even putting in a few minutes on the flank when the scrum was short a body.
14 – Jeff Hassler (Ospreys) While the rest of his team was getting run off the park by Glasgow Warriors the Canadian winger was putting in a serious shift. Won’t be pleased with himself for one knock-on but made up for it with several powerful runs and a few key tackles. Honorable mention goes to Martín Fitipaldo, who scored tries against both Hong Kong and Namibia for Uruguay.
15 – Tomás Salas (Chile) Capped a superb tournament with the winning penalty goal against Fiji in abysmal conditions. His stepping against Canada was just as impressive as his goal kicking that landed him 15 points. Martín Bustos Moyano also played very well for Bayonne with 21 points in the win over Dax at Stade Jean Dauger.