At Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario in San Juan, Argentina, on Saturday a Puma team played a team chosen by the Confederación Sudamericana de Rugby (CONSUR) in Argentina's last home warm-up match for the 2011 World Cup.
The liberal use of substitutes meant that this match could not be regarded as official in any way, nor could caps be awarded.
The Pumas played in royal blue jerseys, the South American selection in red. The Pumas won the VISA Cup with this victory. There was a big, cheerful crowd at the open stadium in San Juan, the match part of the 50th jubilee celebrations of the founding of the San Juan Rugby Union.
The CONSUR Invitation team was chosen from eight countries, largely Argentinians. It started off hesitantly, almost apologetically as if intimidated, but improved and ended with two tries, both scored by Brazilian scrumhalf Tank Duque.
Against those two tries, the Pumas scored 12, the first after just two minutes when tall Juan J Imhoff strolled over and the last in injury time when Agustín Gosio raced over.
The Puma wings had a field day, which is strange in a game with so little continuity. But then the Pumas were always looking to counterattack. Imhoff scored a hat-trick of tries as did Rafael Carballo while Horacio Agulla got two and Lucas Borges one. But the most impressive of the Puma backs was inside centre Santiago Fernández with his strong, straight running. The CONSUR side struggled to get ball to start with as they were dominated by the Puma pack. They were much too strong in the scrums which were messy, perhaps because the four-command setting of the scrum was so rushed. The Pumas' line-outs were sloppy and they were not particularly cohesive or determined at the breakdowns which were generally chaotic.
Two minutes after Imhoff's try Agulla got his first in the right corner and then another when he raced some 60 metres to score. Imhoff got the third try when CONSUR attacked but left the ball unattended behind a tackle/ruck. Flank Alejandro Campos picked it up and dashed forward, Nicolás Vergallo carried it on and Imhoff had an easy run-in for the try. Then, into the wind, Benjamin Madero goaled a penalty for CONSUR to make the scored 26-3 but Imhoff had the last word with his hat-trick try after the half-time hooter had sounded. That made the score 33-3 at the break.
Carballo opened the scoring in the second half, followed by replacement scrum half, the lively Alfredo Lalanne, then adventurous Martín Rodríguez who scythed through on a long counter, Carballo again after a long break by Gabriel Ascarate and then veteran Borges after Rodriguez had made the break. They made it 49-3 with 18 minutes to play.
Then suddenly Chilean Felipe Brangier broke on a long run. Duque chipped, gathered a kind bounce and scored. Carballo got a third try and then Duque did it again - chipped, gathered and scored to make it 71-15 with two minutes to play, time enough for Gosio to end the match with a try.
For the Pumas:
Tries: Juan Imhoff 3, Horacio Agulla 2, Rafael Carballo 3, Alfredo Lalanne, Martín Rodríguez, Lucas Borges, Agustín Gosio
Cons: Felipe Contepomi 4, Nicolás Sánchez 5
For the CONSUR XV:
Tries: Lucas Rodrigues Duque 2
Con: José Manuel Diosa Gómez
Pen: Benjamin Madero
Pumas: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Juan Imhoff, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 7 Alejandro Campos, 6 Genaro Fessia, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Mariano Galarza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Andrés Bordoy, 17 Martìn Scelzo, 18 Eusebio Guiñazú, 19 Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga, 20 Rafael Carballo, 21 Gabriel Ascarate, 22 Leonardo Senatore, 23 Nicolás Sánchez, 24 Alfredo Lalanne, 25 Julio Farías, 26 Santiago Guzmán, 27 Lucas Borges, 28 Agustín Gosio, 29 Maximiliano Bustos, 30 Tomás Vallejos.
Coach: Santiago Phelan
CONSUR XV: 15 Gastón Mieres (Uruguay), 14 Fernando Luna (Argentina), 13 Lisandro Gómez Lopez (Argentina), 12 Alberto Román (Uruguay), 11 Leandro Leiva (Uruguay), 10 Benjamin Madero (Argentina), 9 Santiago Méndez (Argentina), 8 Germán Suazo (Chile), 7 José Basile (Argentina), 6 Ignacio Pasman (Argentina), 5 Felipe Aranguren (Argentina), 4 Hugo Schierano (Argentina), 3 Julio César Henrique Figalo (Brazil), 2 Emiliano Coria (Argentina), 1 Francisco Deformes (Chile).
Replacements: 16 Rodolfo De Mula (Ururguay), 17 Guillermo Schwerter Figueredo (Paraguay), 18 Sebastian Velarde-Álvarez Clark (Peru), 19 Rodrigo María (Argentina), 20 Matías Cabrera (Chile), 21 Juan Cruz Guillemain (Argentina), 22 José Manuel Diosa Gómez (Colombia), 23 Luis Alfredo Zamora Petit (Venezuela), 24 Lucas Rodrigues Duque (Brazil), 25 Felipe Brangier (Chile).
Coaches: Raúl Pérez (Argentina), Daniel Graco (Chile), Sebastian Piñeyrúa (Uruguay)
Referee: Javier Mancuso (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Claudio Antonio (UAR) y Jason Mola (UAR)
TMO: Andrés Ramos (UAR)
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