The Pumas beat Rugby Australia XV 19-15 in his first friendly for the Tri-Nations, which begins at dawn on Saturday with the classic Australia vs. New Zealand and in which Mario Ledesma’s team will debut on November 14 against the All Blacks.
Some had not played since mid-March. Many wore the Pumas jersey for the first time. All faced a test to measure aerobic performance after a tight preparation and full of obstacles, to feel the rigor of physical contact, to begin to coordinate different tactical movements. Beyond the logical imbalances that so much adversity imposed, the first performance of the Pumas in 2020 was highly satisfactory.
“I am very happy that the players can get back on the court after a long time. It was very cute. The energy and desire they had to put on the shirt was noticeable. From that side, very satisfied, “said DT Ledesma.” It is always nice to win and there were moments when they had to go to look very deep so that they did not get in and we could take them out. There are many things to support and continue to improve. “
Without the players performing in Europe, still isolated in quarantine in Sydney, The Pumas formed with the players who started training in Argentina and have been training in Australia for three and a half weeks. There were some experienced like Tomás Cubelli, Emiliano Boffelli or Julián Montoya, and a total of 12 players who do not have international matches with the selected team (five of them starters).
“It makes me happy that they can do it in a game like this, winning. Everyone raised their hands and performed better than expected in important moments,” added the head coach.
The rival included a handful of players with Super Rugby experience such as Jack Maddocks, Isi Naisarani and Folau Fainga’a, and most of the youth, including several of those who last year were runners-up at the M20 World Cup in Rosario (the opening Will Harrison , the Liam Wright wing, the Angus Bell pillar).
Beyond the fact that many aspects of the game were on the list of things to improve, the Pumas played at high intensity, showed an attitude to recover from an adverse start and ended up prevailing with justice. The exam, in short, was passed with flying colors.
It is true that there was an irregular start, many logical inaccuracies of handling, lack of definition in the last meters, indiscipline and some failures in the tackle that it is urgent to correct. The scrum was deficient in the first half but improved in the second half and led to the lift. All this is overshadowed by the intensity that the Argentine team managed to print and that forced infractions from the rival that gave it a territorial advantage. When he could move the ball with speed, he found spaces. And he recovered a lot of balls in the breakdown.
To highlight, the enormous performance of Santiago Carreras, increasingly unbalancing, now with the 15 on his back, as Gonzalo Quesada put it in Jaguares. Also outstanding was the performance of the second row Rodrigo Fernández Criado, one of those who did not even have experience in Super Rugby. Joaquín Oviedo, 19, the youngest of the Tri-Nations, debuted with a try when it seemed that the home defense was impregnable.
The Pumas came out to TG Milner Field in Sydney wearing a bizarre hot pink jersey with white on top. The start was promising, with 15 minutes of almost absolute Argentine dominance and recovering many balls in the breakdown. However, they failed to define. They spent six minutes pressing in the final five meters (including three line-outs and a scrum in favor), but could not penetrate the defense and went with a penalty against. They then had two other open-play chances that were diluted by knock-ons from Pitt Runs and another offensive penalty.
The Australians began to get stronger from the scrum and opened the scoring in a play started in the middle of the court, at 30. The wide defense of the Pumas was poor and the locals went ahead 5-0. Moments of bewilderment ensued, with excessive penalties that put Ledesma’s team against their in-goal. Australia returned to check in and went to the break 10-0.
In the second half the Pumas came out with several changes in the formation, but they did not lose their composure. From a scrum stolen within their own 25 yards they took confidence and took over the game.
After a couple of line-outs, first the young man from Córdoba Joaquín Oviedo billed near the formation and then Carreras did the same at the top. Then, a big counter from the fullback led to the conquest of Gorrissen, majestically assisted by Boffelli.
The transmission was cut and did not allow to observe the last 15 minutes, where the Australians approached with another try to establish the final score.
- Rugby Australia XV (15): Jack Maddocks; Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Tepai Moeroa y James Ramm; Will Harrison y Jake Gordon; Liam Wright, Isi Naisarani y Lachlan Swinton; Trevor Hosea y Caderyn Neville; Jermaine Ainsley, Folau Fainga’a y Angus Bell.
- Substitutes: Cornwall McInerney, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Vaauli Faamausili, Tom Hooper, Pete Samu, Joe Powell, Ben Donaldson, Alex Newsome, Josh Kemeny, Triston Reilly, David Porecki y Rob Valentini.
- Argentina (19): Santiago Carreras; Bautista Delguy, Santiago Chocobares, Juan Cruz Mallía and Emiliano Bofelli; Domingo Miotti and Tomás Cubelli; Francisco Gorrissen, Rodrigo Bruni and Santiago Grondona; Rodrigo Fernández Criado and Lucas Paulos; Juan Pablo Zeiss, Julián Montoya and Mayco Vivas.
- Coach: Mario Ledesma.
- Changes: PT 18m, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro for Vivas and Santiago Medrano for Zeiss. ST Santiago Socino for Montoya, Tomás Lezana for Grondona, Gonzalo Bertranou for Cubelli and Lucio Cinti for Chocobares; 11m, Ignacio Calas for Paulos, Sebastián Cancelliere for Delguy and Joaquín Oviedo for Bruni; 20, Felipe Ezcurra for Bertranou and Grondona for Fernandez Criado; 25, Tomás Albornoz for Miotti and Jerónimo de la Fuente for Mallía; 34, José Luis Gonzalez for Socino, Federico Wegrzyn for Tetaz Chaparro and Lucio Sordoni for Medrano.
- PT: 30m, try de Ikitau (RA); 33, try de T. Wright (RA).
- ST: 14 and 23m, goals by Miotti by tries from Oviedo and Carreras (A); 25, Gorrissen try (A); 34, Rugby Australia XV try.
- Referee: Nick Berry (Australia)
- Court: TG Millner Field, Sydney
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