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.
Los Cóndores got their November campaign off to the best possible start as they defeated Kenya by a convincing score of 23-3 at Kings Park in Hong Kong on Friday. A slow start to the game saw the score only 6-3 at the break, but Los Cóndores came out firing in the second half to score two tries and 17 unanswered points to earn the victory. Tomás Ianiszewski had a memorable match, the fullback scoring 18 points in all with three penalty goals, one try, and two conversions. Chile play next tomorrow, facing Hong Kong, again at King’s Park.
Brazil Women’s Sevens
Brazil qualified for San Francisco 2018 on Saturday. As winners of the 2017 Women’s Sudamérica Rugby Sevens the Brazilians will compete at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in July 2018. Not only did they seal the birth at the tournament but they did so by defeating all opposition. The undefeated run saw them pushed the hardest in the final fixture by Argentina. As the runners-up Argentina booked a place in the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens.
Hindú added another title to their resume. The Don Torcuato club defeated Buenos Aires rivals, Alumni, to win the URBA Top 12 Final on Saturday. The result sees the Elephants underlined themselves as Argentina’s strongest club. Earlier in the year Hindú won the national club competition, the Nacional de Clubes. That was the club’s third consecutive national title.
Tuculet’s try in San Juan has been shortlisted by World Rugby for the Try of the Year award. The Pumas fullback scored it in the second half in the opening match against England in the June Internationals. The try is one of four nominated by World Rugby. Also in the running are Gela Aprasidze (Georgia), Sean O’Brien (British & Irish Lions) and Portia Woodman (New Zealand). Tuculet’s nomination comes at a time in which Argentine supporters are begging for improvement. He is also now just one cap short of reaching 50.
Major League Rugby
Major League Rugby has announced an exclusive broadcast partnership with CBS Sports Network. The deal will see CBS Sports broadcast 13 games during the inaugural 2018 season with a Game of the Week during a 10-week regular season and three post-season matches, Semi Finals and a Championship Final. While the specific length of the deal has not been immediately revealed, it’s believed to be a two-year agreement between the parties. CBS Sports Network began as a college sports channel but has re-focused in recent years to include other mainstream sports. The network was purchased by CBS Corporation in 2005 and officially re-branded in 2008. Available with most cable package offerings in the USA, the network has a reported reach of nearly 60 million households across the country.
16 straight defeats against Tier 1 opposition. Argentina’s situation cannot get much worse. The team has been unable to produce results. Trained by a stubborn coach whose game plan is failing the year cannot end soon enough. Argentina fell 21-8 against England despite dominating both the possession and territory statistics. Los Pumas are not playing smart rugby. With Italy next up there is as good change of any as to coming away with a win. Replacing halves Martín Landajo and Juan Martín Hernández looms as a foregone conclusion.
It was game over within the opening quarter in Leipzig. Germany was quick out of the blocks and Brazil had no answer. When Brazil, at last, played some rugby it was with the team trailing 36-0. Os Tupis were not good enough on the day as they conceded more points than in all of the previous four matches against the Germans. What was a heavy defeat could have been even bigger had the officials not missed a punch from Lucas Piero. Replays showed punches to the head of an opponent on the floor. With no TMO Piero and Brazil got off lightly.
Canada felt the impact of a marvelous 34-point performance from Georgian fullback Soso Matiashvili on Saturday. It led the Lelos to a 54-22 win, a notable scoreline in which the Eastern Europeans underlined their superiority over the Canadians. Powerful forwards could not be countered by the Canadians and the backs were also more active than we have seen in the past from Georgian teams. Significant improvement is required from Canada for their game against Spain this weekend.
It is a late start for Uruguay and the USA. Their respective November Internationals fixtures are restricted to two matches each. Both will open their tours this coming Saturday. The USA will do so away to Germany while Uruguay face Namibia in Windhoek. Both are ground-breaking matches and are potentially to be followed by others in the years to come. Yet to think Brazil and Chile have both played already underlines that better work could be done to have Uruguay and the USA playing three test matches each this month.
Canada’s November Internationals series did not start well. Yet prior to facing Georgia disaster had already struck with news that goal-kicking flyhalf Shane O’Leary would be missing. The 24-year-old underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair ruptured ankle ligaments suffered while on duty with Ealing Trailfinders. It’s a bitter blow for Canada who are already without Connor Braid and alternate kicker Gordon McRorie, so too Ealing where O’Leary has only just arrived. More importantly O’Leary now faces a race against time to be fit for Canada’s vital World Cup Qualifying series against Uruguay on January 27 and February 3. The projected recovery time is 12 weeks which would put O’Leary’s return during the week of the first match.