Capping a memorable day in the Americas the USA became the first team to defeat the Argentina XV in the Americas Rugby Championship, winning 17-10 in a thriller that went down to the wire at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles. A last-gasp attack from the visitors saw Rodrigo Bruni cross the line only to knock on in the movement to end the match.
Juan Cappiello was shown yellow in just the 7th minute for a late and dangerous tackle on Marcel Brache, an act that could yet see a citing during the week. Will Magie could not connect on the subsequent penalty attempt but landed his second at the tail end of the sin bin to give the Eagles the early lead.
Argentina wrestled their way back into the match with Juan Cruz Gonzalez scoring a three-pointer after Titi Lamositele was given a 10-minute rest for repeat team infringements. A third yellow card was brandished in the 37th minute when the referee lost patience with the Eagles defense, this time Cam Dolan serving the sentence. With the man advantage Santiago Montagner powered over following an extended period of pressure on the USA line. The conversion was good, giving the visitors a 10-3 lead at halftime.
The second period would belong to the Eagles. Magie sent over his second penalty goal to close the gap and then the Eagles got the try they were hoping for. Off an attacking scrum they went blind, and then Tony Lamborn showed his strength as he tore through two defenders to round the corner and steal the lead back for the USA.
Replacements began to stream into the match and Will Hooley came on for Magie to make his first appearance in an Eagles jersey. It would be a memorable one for the former England u20 flyhalf. A towering up-and-under put Argentina under pressure and a resulting penalty gave Hooley his first chance to take points which he duly obliged. After a few minutes of stalemate he was given another opportunity. From a tricky angle the kick bisected the uprights to make the gap a converted try and the pressure was all on Argentina.
A desperate assault came, as expected, and it looked for all money that Argentina would score with a shot to tie the game for a third consecutive year. It wasn’t to be, however, as Bruni’s powerful burst put him through the tackle only to loose possession of the ball before the grounding. Upon video review the try was waved off, a knock on called, and the final whistle sounded.
The Eagles have the result they wanted and will now be confident of a clean sweep of the tournament though there are obstacles along the way. A wounded Canada await next week while Uruguay are flowing with confidence after their historic victory in Montevideo. Argentina must hope for an upset without conceding any further defeats. After only one game the ARC title appears lost to the perennial favorites.
Tries – T. Lamborn (59’)
Cons – W. Magie 0/1
Pens – W. Magie 2/3 (17’, 43’), W. Hooley 2/2 (69’, 77’)
Yellow cards – T. Lamositele (20’), C. Dolan (37’)
Tries – S. Montagner (39’)
Cons – J. González 1/1 (40’)
Pens – J. González 1/2 (24’)
Drop goals – G. Arias 0/1
Yellow cards – J. Cappiello (7’)
1 Titi Lamositele (17 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa 76’), 2 Joe Taufete’e (16 James Hilterbrand 64’), 3 Dino Waldren (18 Angus MacLellan 76’), 4 Nate Brakeley (19 Ben Landry 64’), 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Hanco Germishuys (17 Huluholo Mo’ungaloa 20’-30’), 7 Tony Lamborn (20 Andrew Durutalo 67’), 8 Cam Dolan, 9 Nate Augspurger (21 Shaun Davies 55’), 10 Will Magie (22 Will Hooley 64’), 11 Ryan Matyas, 12 Bryce Campbell, 13 Marcel Brache (23 Dylan Audsley 12’), 14 Blaine Scully (capt.), 15 Mike Te’o
1 Francisco Ferronato (17 Javier Díaz 60’), 2 Gaspar Baldunciel (16 Diego Fortuny 70’), 3 Benjamín Espinal (18 Santiago Medrano 60’), 4 Jerónimo Ureta (19 Santiago Portillo 64’), 5 Ignacio Larrague, 6 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Lautaro Bavaro (capt.) (20 Francisco Gorrissen 7’-12’), 8 Santiago Montagner (20 Francisco Gorrissen 64’), 9 Luca Magnasco, 10 Juan Cruz González (22 Tomás Granella 56’), 11 Rodrigo Etchart, 12 Juan Cappiello, 13 Juan Cruz Mallía, 14 Germán Schulz (23 Tomás Malanos 67’), 15 Gastón Arias
Not used: 21 Facundo Nogueira
Referee: Chris Assmus (RC)
Assistants: Mike O’Brien (USAR) & Lee Bryant (USAR)