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Uruguay’s Winning Streak

Los Teros are running hot. This is no secret. Uruguay qualified for RWC 2019 last week and ended 2017 with a historic series win over Namibia in Africa. What is less known is Uruguay’s Winning Streak. Los Teros have won their last 13 capped test matches, as recognized by World Rugby.

Uruguay’s most recent defeat in a capped test match was officially over a year ago. It was against the USA in round one of the 2017 Americas Rugby Championship (ARC). The 29-23 defeat added to November defeats against Germany, Spain and Romania. Since then Uruguay’s results have been vastly different.

It should be pointed out that the definition of a win and a loss is more complex than the scoreline. Needed to be taken into account is the status of the matches, as determined by World Rugby. A test match requires that both teams on the field officially be the test teams. ‘A’ sides or exhibition line-ups are not included.

Uruguay’s two matches against the Argentina XV in 2017 were losses. But with them not being Los Pumas they do not count as capped internationals, according to World Rugby. The same is true of this coming Saturday’s ARC home match against the same opposition. Similarly Uruguay defeated Emerging Italy in June 2017 but it was Italy’s ‘A’ side.

1 – February 18 2017 Uruguay 23-12 Brazil, Maldonado
Uruguay’s Winning Streak began with a bonus point win over Brazil. Forwards Diego Ayala, Ignacio Dotti, Alejandro Nieto, and scrum-half Santiago Arata scored tries but Germán Albanell had major issues with his goal-kicking. A feature of the match was Uruguay’s defense as Brazil failed to score a try in the match. Little did Uruguay realize that twelve months later they would be facing the same opposition without having lost a capped test match.

2 – February 25 2017 Uruguay 17-13 Canada, Maldonado
Defeating Brazil was expected but a win over Canada was not. Going into the game the Canadians had a proud record of not having lost against Uruguay since August 2002. This not only ended in Maldonado but it was also Uruguay’s first of what is now a 3-0 winning streak against Canada. Uruguayan winger Leandro Leivas scored the opening try while Uruguay were also awarded a first half penalty try. Uruguay would go 13 points ahead before a Gordon McRorie penalty and a late try from Conor Trainor set-up a thrilling finish.

3 – March 04 2017 Uruguay 45-14 Chile, Montevideo
A six tries to one performance against Chile took the streak to three matches. A win was expected based on the respective levels of the two sides historically and the form during the ARC tournament itself. Juan Echeverría, Diego Magno, Nicolás Freitas and Leandro Leivas all scored tries. Wingers Freitas and Leivas both scored twice. The win gave Uruguay third spot in the ARC, one spot up from 2016.

4 – May 13 2017 Paraguay 19-45 Uruguay, Asunción
In May 2017 it was time for the South American ‘A’ Rugby Championship. It was a special edition with the tournament doubling as RWC qualifiers. Uruguay began on the road, facing Los Yacares at the Estadio Héroes de Curupaytí. Uruguay dominated, going out to a 40-0 lead before Paraguay was able to trouble to scorers. Gastón Mieres was a stand-out, scoring a hat-trick. Martin Espiga scored one of his own while Gonzalo Soto scored a double. Soto moved to no 8 to replace regular Alejandro Nieto who was forced off injured.

5 – May 20 2017 Uruguay 41-27 Brazil, Montevideo
Seven days after defeating Paraguay, Uruguay eliminated Brazil from RWC qualifying. Uruguay welcomed back Felipe Berchesi from France for the match. He opened the scoring with an early penalty. Leandro Leivas continued to impress on the wing, running in two tries in the match. Captain Juan Manuel Gaminara led by example, his 20th minute try made it 17-3. When fellow flanker, Franco Lamanna scored the win was secured before half time. Brazil fought back in the second half but Uruguay’s opening half proved to be more than sufficient to win them the match.

6 – May 27 2017 Uruguay 27-11 Chile, Montevideo
Like Uruguay, Chile was victorious over both Brazil and Paraguay in the 2017 South American ‘A’ Championship. This meant their  match was officially an RWC qualifying elimination game. Uruguay made sure they would claim the South America 1 spot to go on to face North Americas 2 for the battle for Americas 2. A strong start from Los Teros had them leading 20-0 in the first half. Felipe Berchesi and Leandro Leivas scored tries with Berchesi also landing goals. Francisco González Moller got Chile on the board but when Rodrigo Silva scored in the 56th minute the result was beyond doubt. With it Uruguay eliminated Chile and advanced to face either Canada or the USA. The country would be confirmed on July 01 in San Diego, California.

7 – June 14 2017 Uruguay 32-29 Russia, Montevideo
Four days after defeating Emerging Italy, Uruguay played the first of two home test matches in the 2017 Nations Cup. Having started poorly Los Teros looked destined to be headed for a defeat. Instead they mounted a superb comeback after having trailed 24-8 at half time. Tries in the come-from-behind win were scored by Santiago Arata, Rodrigo Silva and Gastón Gibernau. Silva had also scored Uruguay’s first half try. Uruguay’s strong second half took then 12 points past Russia. The Bears scored a late try to add a late twist to the match. The overall story was one which would be repeated and expanded upon against Canada at the same venue in February 2018.

8 – June 18 2017 Uruguay 24-14 Spain, Montevideo
In their next match Uruguay were crowned the Nations Cup Champions. Los Teros defeated Spain to complete a 3-0 record in the World Rugby tournament. Uruguay claimed the trophy with two excellent tries. Santiago Arata scored the solo try of the year for 2017 while Leandro Leivas bumped off defenders to cross in the corner. The backs scored the tries and Felipe Berchesi kicked the goals. The win, though, was came from the core of a dominant scrum. It lay the platform for Arata to cause havoc and confirm himself as being among the world’s leading amateur players.

9 – November 18 2017 Uruguay 36-52 Namibia, Windhoek
Namibia had played in the Nations Cup but not against Uruguay. This would be made up for in November with the Africans hosting Uruguay in a two match tour. With Namibia having qualified for RWCs 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 as Africa 1 this was a tour of immense importance. Uruguay had the change to literally show World Rugby that their qualification process favors Africa at the expense of others, South America included. Uruguay’s win in game one was on the back of an Alejandro Nieto hat-trick. Carlos Arboleya, Mateo Sanguinetti, and Rodrigo Silva also crossed for tries. Uruguay played so well that at one point the held a 24-0 lead.

10 – November 25 2017 Uruguay 34-39 Namibia, Windhoek
The historic series win was claimed with Uruguay clinching game two. In a tighter affair, Los Teros opened the scoring again though a prop. Juan Echeverría’s try would be followed by scores by Agustín Ormaechea, Germán Kessler, and a double from Santiago Arata. Also prominent was Federico Favarowho was the goal-kicker for the series. As impressive as he was he would not face Canada in the RWC qualifiers, Uruguay’s next assignment. Uruguayan ill-discipline caused them problems in the match. Ignacio Dotti’s yellow card saw Namibia fight back to 17-17. Arata’s two tries were followed by a relaxed Uruguay letting in two tries. Favor sealed the win with a late penalty.

11 – January 28 2018 Canada 29-38 Uruguay, Vancouver
2018 opened with Uruguay shocking the rugby order. The impressive Uruguayans had the players and game plan to deliver what ranks among Uruguay’s greatest ever wins. Fullback Rodrigo Silva scored an opening minute try. Evan Olmstead would cancel it out before Connor Braid gave Canada a 10-7 with a lead. DTH van der Merwe extended the lead with a well-taken try before Uruguay regained the momentum. The halftime lead was secure with Leandro Levias powering over in the corner and Santiago Arata darting over from scrum-half. Canada regained the lead early in the second half before Ignacio Dotti and Rodrigo Capó Ortega both scored. Canada’s bench was overwhelmed as Uruguay made history.

12 – February 03 2018 Uruguay 32-31 Canada, Montevideo
The streak reached 12 at URU headquarters earlier this month. Uruguay’s victory meant they were officially Americas 2 and would play in Pool D of RWC 2019. The win looked unlikely in the early goings. Santiago Arata was forced off injured while Canada put themselves 15-0 ahead. Uruguay’s fight back got underway with Agustín Ormaechea taking a quick tap to put Ignacio Dotti over. Center Juan Manuel Cat would score early in the second half before fellow mid-fielder Andrés Vilaseca bagged a double. When the dust settled Uruguay had done it all – RWC qualified, series win over Canada and the 12th consecutive win in capped internationals.

13 – February 10 2018 Brazil 18-27 Uruguay, São Paulo
Uruguay’s Winning Streak reached 13 this past Friday. With little time to recover from the two matches against Canada, Uruguay was clearly tired. They were also playing without their European-Based players and in the summer heat of tropical São Paulo. Brazil was 15 points ahead at half time but the lead would be eroded. Second-rower Ignacio Dotti set-up a maul from which hooker Germán would score. Fellow second-rower Diego Magno went over minutes later to make it an 1-17 scoreline. Debutant replacement back Tomás Inciarte put Uruguay ahead with a try before Germán Albanell confirmed the win with a late penalty.

About Paul Tait

EDITOR / ARGENTINA / SOUTH AMERICA ... has been covering the sport since 2007. Rising from the ranks as a player, coach, and referee, he has published two books to go with articles on various international websites including the World Rugby page.

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