Argentina Jaguars completed a hat-trick of wins over Canada A in the history of the Americas Rugby Championship to claim their third tournament title.
The Jaguars defeated the Canadians on their way to the 2009 and 2010 titles and did so again on Saturday much to the disappointment of the capacity crowd of 3,255 at Westhills Stadium, Langford, British Columbia.
Daniel Hourcade’s side ran out 28-9 winners, scoring three tries without reply to confirm their status as the top ‘A’ team in North and South America.
The Jaguars went behind to a Connor Braid penalty after 14 minutes following an infringement by lock Cesar Frutero, which earned him a yellow card. Santiago Inglesias Gonzalo levelled the scores from the kicking tee four minutes later.
The rest of the half belonged to Argentina once Canadian scrum half Sean White had been shown a yellow card at the end of the first quarter.
Inglesias added a second penalty to edge the Jaguars ahead before Ramiro Moyano went under the posts for a converted try to hand the South Americans a 13-3 interval lead.
Braid gave Canada some hope seven minutes into the second half when he brought Canada within a score (13-6) with his second penalty goal. But Iglesias responded in kind on 50 minutes from 15 yards out.
After Braid's third penalty made it 16-9, Argentina pounced on a spilt ball from Canada’s captain Tyler Ardron for a breakaway score. Ingelsias kicked his second conversion.
Matias Orlando sealed the victory for the South Americans with a final try in the right corner to make it 28-9.
With a final tally of 10 tries ‘for’ and only one conceded in their three matches, Argentina Jaguars were worthy winners of the 2012 ARC title.
Canadians take consolation from defeat
However Canada A head coach Kieran Crowley took positives from the competition and says a number of his squad could have played their way into contention for the forthcoming tour to the UK, which sees fixtures against Samoa, Russia and the Maori All Blacks.
“We had November selection earlier this week,” he revealed. “I’d say that three or four of the ARC squad that were selected previously will play and there are probably a couple of players who could play their way in, so it has been a good exercise form that perspective,” he said.
Despite his costly handling mistake in the final, Canada A captain Tyler Ardron is one player to have enhanced his reputation throughout the Championship.
“Tyler is an outstanding young player in my view and so mature for someone who is only 21,” Crowley commented.
“He could easily play at the top level in Europe and in the southern hemisphere.”
Uruguay powers to victory
The third and fourth place decider between USA Select and Uruguay also went the way of South America by 26 points to 8.
Two Jeronimo Etcheverry penalties put Uruguay 6-0 up before the half turned on its head following the sin-binning of prop Alejo Corral for not rolling away in the tackle.
Gearoid McDonald’s penalty shortly afterwards finally got USA on the scoreboard.
With two minutes of the first half remaining USA flanker Eric Duechle showed great strength to hold off two would-be tacklers and force his way over the line for his side’s one and only try of the tournament.
Trailing 8-6, Uruguay forced the issue up front in the second half and a series of scrums on the USA line eventually resulted in a penalty try being awarded by referee Bryan Arciero. Etcheverry was successful with the conversion.
A long-range Etcheverry penalty then put Uruguay 16-8 ahead.
With the clock ticking down in the second-half, Uruguay used another strong scrum platform to score again through number 8 Diego Magno.
Etcheverry added the extras and then sealed victory for Uruguay with his fourth penalty of the match two minutes from time.