For the most part it was a difficult week for Americas teams as the November test window officially opened. Canada were swept aside by Georgia with relative ease, Brazil were woeful for much of their match against Germany, and Argentina fell to England in a sleep-inducing encounter at Twickenham.
Chile were the only side to grab victory though their win over Kenya left plenty of room for improvement. Elsewhere we looked at Hindú’s URBA title win over Alumni and the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
1 – Santiago García Botta (Argentina) The Pumas have struggled badly in the scrum in recent times but their performance against England was an improvement. A heavyweight second row certainly helped but García Botta gave Dan Cole problems and also played well in the loose.
2 – Agustín Creevy (Argentina) Not his most memorable outing in a Pumas jersey as his team struggled to break down the English defense. Despite their problems the captain led from the front and certainly didn’t let his teammates down with several strong carries into heavy traffic.
3 – José Tomás Munita (Chile) His front row mate Claudio Zamorano also fared well but Munita was the pick of the two. Smashed the Kenyan scrum despite being outweighed, not a common occurrence when you’re 120kg (265lbs). Lasted more than 70 minutes and even fit in a huge line break late in the game.
4 – Jerónimo Ureta (Buenos Aires) A similar player to Guido Petti in size and style. The Newman standout had a fine game, scoring two tries in an exciting win over Rosario. Might need to switch to the back row if he hopes to earn further his international ambitions.
5 – Tomás Lavanini (Argentina) Showed what he can do when he puts his head down and stays out of trouble. Very physical in the contact area without being reckless. Also carried well, short on metres gained but high on attracting multiple defenders while retaining possession.
6 – Pablo Matera (Argentina) The best of the Pumas forwards and probably the best overall. Carried the ball countless times with relentless commitment. It’s remarkable that he has maintained his work rate throughout a seemingly endless year.
7 – Lautaro Bavaro (Hindú) Outstanding once again in a memorable URBA final victory over Alumni. Link man, lineout target, tireless in support and defense. One of the most consistent loose forwards in Argentine rugby.
8 – Andrew Durutalo (Worcester) Played on the flank but we’ve shifted him to the back of the scrum where he has played on many occasions. A big performance with ball in hand against Harlequins though he struggled a bit on the defensive side of things.
9 – Phil Mack (Canada) Behind a well-beaten pack the captain provided the spark for two of his team’s three tries. He must now find a way to lift the side’s tempo for more than just a few minutes of the match.
10 – Santiago Videla (Chile) It was a good week for Juan León Novillo, who scored 18 points to lead Calvisano past San Donà. Our choice, however, is the 19-year-old Videla who made his test debut for Los Cóndores against Kenya and showed real potential, creating one try with the boot and nearly another. One to watch, he is still eligible for the u20 side in 2018.
11 – Bautista Álvarez (Hindú) The pocket rocket always seems to rise to the occasion. He was at it again in the URBA final, snaring a loose pass to race away untouched for the winning try. As opportunists go, there are few better.
12 – Santiago González Iglesias (Argentina) Has taken a big step ahead in recent games, lifting his status from competent reserve player to legitimate contender for a starting role. He was asked to play a carrying role against England and did surprisingly well though his strength remains his footballing ability.
13 – Felipe Sancery (Brazil) The Tupis had a poor day at the office in Leipzig and it already 38-0 to Germany when Sancery ripped through the line to score a fine individual try. Overall he faired reasonably well, making territory with each carry but was helpless as his forwards were decidedly second-best.
14 – Juan Pablo Estelles (Northampton) Two starts and two top performances. He reached the tryline early against the Dragons and danced his way past defenders on a few attacking runs. Surely a bench spot at least in the senior side isn’t too much to ask.
15 – Tomás Ianiszewski (Chile) A very good match for the lightweight but aggressive speedster. Grabbed a try and contributed five successful kicks for 18 points in all against Kenya. He also found room for a couple strong tackles.