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Three South American teams walked away with victories in the second week of the Americas Rugby Championships, leaving the USA and Canada with some pieces to pick up.
Argentina XV handed the USA its first ARC loss since the final week of 2016, and did so in emphatic fashion.
Argetina XV scored in the opening minute, and dominated possession in the first eight.
HOLY OFFLOAD! Argentina XV score in the first minute with a filthy offload. pic.twitter.com/fhfGetp1tm— FloRugby (@FloRugby) February 9, 2019
The USA rebounded with some decent phase play, and produced far too many mistakes to keep it going. After Paul Lasike was red-carded for stomping on an opponent in frustration, the deal was sealed.
Argentina XV took a 21-0 lead into halftime, scored three tries in the next 20 minutes, only to see the USA put together two nicely-constructed tries to finish it all off 45-14.
Brazil Shocks Canada
All the talk had been about how Canada has received a boost of confidence since gaining qualification to the Rugby World Cup. But the Canadians lost last week to Uruguay and this week were held in check by a tough-minded Brazil team.
Canada raced ahead to a 10-0 lead, but they rested on those laurels too long. The redoubtable Ciaran Hearn struck first with a third-minute penalty, and it was Hearn who blasted through the Brazilian midfield to score from 35 minutes out. The center converted for the 10-0 lead.
But Brazil's scrum started to take control, and pressure on Canada produced kickable penalties that flyhalf Josh Reeves was only too happy to convert. He did that three times to make it 10-9 at the break.
The second half was the same story. Brazil's forwards put a stranglehold on the contest, and Reeves hit his penalties for an 18-10 victory.
A South American team had to win this one as Uruguay took on Chile. Chile battled hard and did well to keep Uruguay away from the tryline on multiple occasions.
Los Condores had chances to get on top early, but flyhalf Francisco González missed a penalty attempt and a drop goal attempt. Uruguay replied with a penalty from Andrés Vilaseca, and then Joaquin Prada gathered a ricochet and rambled in.
Uruguay took the 10-0 lead into halftime, and Vilaseca then extended it to 13-0. In serious trouble now, Chile found some hope when sub hooker Augusto Bohme took off from the back of a maul to race untouched to paydirt.
But Uruguay settled down, and a massive maul put Diego Magno over. The conversion made it 20-5 with Vilaseca's conversion.
So now it's a week off and back to it on the weekend of February 23.
The USA now knows it has a tough job against Brazil in Round Rock, TX on February 23. Canada hosts Chile on Friday night in a crucial match for both winless teams. And Uruguay vs Argentina XV has all the trappings of a cup final.