Up and Under is a weekly feature on Americas Rugby News which reviews the best and worst from games involving the Americas teams over the previous week.
Namibia vs Uruguay November Series
The long overdue series between Namibia and Uruguay will finally happen. The Namibian Rugby Union have confirmed that they will host Uruguay in a two-match test series in November. Venues for the matches have yet to be confirmed but the dates will be November 18 and 25. It is an historic first for the Teros, who travel to face Namibia for the first time in their history. There has been one previous match between the countries that took place in September 2000. On that day Uruguay won by 23-12 in Montevideo. Namibia were part of the 2017 World Rugby Nations Cup held in Montevideo but the two sides did not meet. Uruguay are currently 18th on the official World Rugby Rankings, with Namibia just behind in 21st.
Brazil’s November Internationals
The Brazilian Rugby Confederation (CBRu) has confirmed a three-match tour to Europe in November. With Germany and Spain already known, the third opponent will be Belgium, to be played in Brussels as the second match on the tour on November 18. The first stop will be in Leipzig on November 11, the third Alicante on November 25. It’s a challenging group of matches with all three ranked higher than Brazil, currently at 29th on the World Rugby Rankings. Spain are the highest at 19th, Germany next at 23rd, and Belgium still three spots ahead at 26th. Over the past two years Brazil have played Germany on four occasions, losing all four including both of their matches in November 2016.
Old Christians Club
Old Christians Club are now three-time running Uruguayan Club Champions. The Montevideo club won the 2017 Uruguayo de Clubes Final, downing Old Boys 23-11 on Saturday. Impressing was ace goal-kicker Andrés De León and Uruguayan flier Federico Favaro. Both had fine performances for Old Christians. The best for Old Boys’s was Juan Manuel Cat who scored all points for the finalists.
François Ratier is leaving his post as Canadian National Senior Women’s Head Coach, but he will be staying involved with Canadian rugby. The 45-year-old will move from Quebec to Victoria to take up a full-time position as National Academy Head Coach. While an internal memo has already circulated, Rugby Canada are expected to confirm the appointment publicly in the coming days. It is some much-needed good news for a Canadian men’s program that is under immense pressure to improve having fallen to their lowest ever point on the World Rugby Rankings.
Juan Manuel Leguizamón
Argentine Juan Manuel Leguizamón made history against Australia. In featuring from the bench against the No 8 from Santiago del Estero became the 5th most capped Puma of all time. Aged 34, Leguizamón has been a Puma since 2005. He earned his debut that year against Japan. During his career he has been a permanent fixture in the roster. This has seen him playing in the Marcelo Loffreda, Santiago Phelan and Daniel Hourcade regimes. All three Head Coaches ha Leguizamón playing for them in their respective Rugby World Cups. Leguizamón started at No 8 in the Rugby World Cup 2007 opening win over France. Eight years later he started in the Bronze Final against South Africa.
Los Pumas just cannot get it together. Argentina’s 45-20 defeat against Australia on Saturday made it four straight losses in the Rugby Championship. What is worse is in the past 12 months Argentina has just won two matches. They were against Japan and Georgia. As such Los Pumas are on a 12 match losing streak against Tier 1 unions.
Canada November Internationals
Who is Canada playing, when, and where? Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen told us in March that Canada were set to play Georgia, Tonga, and Russia in November. As it turns out that’s not the case. Spain and Fiji have since confirmed matches against Canada, but to date the only thing publicly announced by Rugby Canada has been a match against the New Zealand Māori at BC Place. It’s expected that a European tour with tests against Georgia, Spain, and Fiji will eventually be confirmed but less than two months out why hasn’t this been released yet? Meanwhile England are busy announcing their November schedule for 2018.
Based on results alone Daniel Hourcade is on borrowed time. Add to this that Argentina is simply being outplayed and the Tucumán coach simply cannot survive. He is trying his best but the reality is New Zealand and Australia both won despite Argentina having been leading in the second half. Argentina cannot play beyond the hour mark. The players are visibly drained and the bench does not provide the required depth for the Rugby Championship. Ignoring Marcelo Bosch, Patricio Fernández, Juan Figallo, Mariano Galarza, Francisco Gomez Kodela, Juan Imhoff, Facundo Isa and Juan Pablo Socino is compounding the problem.
Ramiro Moyano, Matías Moroni
The fallout from Argentina’s loss in Canberra goes beyond being defeated. Both of the starting Pumas wingers were injured in the match. Ramiro Moyano is out of the remainder of the Rugby Championship with a broken hand. Matías Moroni is in doubt for the home match against New Zealand in Buenos Aires. With the team unable to find a way to win injury set-backs add to the problem. Will Hourcade return Emiliano Boffelli to the wing? Or will Manuel Montero and Santiago Cordero be used?
Argentina’s struggles were not helped by an inept official. Irishman, John Lacey committed an epic blunder, costing Argentina a try. Nicolás Sánchez’ pass was knocked-on by Israel Folau. It was not charged down nor realistically could he have gathered it. Folau was the last defender while Sánchez had four men outside him. Lacey called a knock on and did not check with assistants or the TMO. Two matches earlier Argentina lost Tomás Lavanini for the same offense and referee Pascal Gaüzère also gave South Africa a penalty try. When Folau knocked-on it was 24-13 at the time. It would have been 24-20 had Clancy been consistent with Gaüzère.
Aviva Premiership in Philadelphia
The attendance in Philadelphia was 6,721. This was short of what would have been desired. The venue for the match was the Talen Energy Stadium, a venue seating 18,000 spectators. Also disappointing was the match itself. The Newcastle Falcons and Saracens did not put on as good of a match as the promotors would have liked. Indeed there were much more interesting matches back in England this past weekend.