Pumas performances nearing clarity
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The Pumas have managed to consolidate their victory over England last week, defeating a French Barbarians side 32-18 in Velez to signal an end to the first half of an international calendar that will resume in November when Argentina goes on its European tour.
In their lone presentation in Buenos Aires for 2009, Los Pumas showed themselves to be rightfully superior against a Barbarians side that did not present the quality that the All Blacks and the Springboks currently find themselves against.
Regardless, it was an important match for Argentina, given the fact one of their favourite sons, Rimas Alvarez, was retiring after 44 tests for Los Pumas dating back to October 1998.
Indeed Alvarez’s last game for The Pumas had all the signs of being a memorable one throughout the majority of the first half.
Buoyed by great yardage gains from their forwards, Argentina managed to play neat Rugby, which was once again marshalled well by the ever improving kicking game of Juan Martin Hernandez.
Despite the positive signs upfront, Argentina’s backs did not display the potency that would concern their bigger, more skillful Southern Hemisphere counterparts.
As a team, the Pumas functioned well and were ably assisted midway through the first half by the sending off of Barbarians player Yannick Nyanga for a head butt on Rodrigo Roncero.
That proved to be the unbearable part of a very sour first half for the Barbarians, who were behind 20-3 courtesy of a try by Juan Manuel Leguizamon and five penalties to Hernandez.
With a victory all but sowed up, Los Pumas came out in the second half roaring, as Santiago Fernandez scored a try that was made possible by the grand play of Gonzalo Amorosino.
From then on, The Pumas held their own against an energetic, but an often disorganised Barbarians team that struggled to get past the half way mark of the field.
Indeed the icing on top of Argentina’s cake was provided by Gonzalo Camacho, as he gathered in a precise Hernandez kick to score The Pumas last try.
In a game they should have run away with, Argentina once again finished poorly, allowing the Barbarians to score two tries thanks to Tomici and Gobolet for a 32-18 scoreline.
Although the lapse in concentration did not prove costly, The Pumas would not have been so lucky if they were up against their superior southern Hemisphere opponents.
Regardless, it has been a solid start to the 2009 international season for the Pumas, which started very meekly against England in Old Trafford a few weeks ago.
Since then, the side has progressed well and will bring confidence with them to the British Isles in November where they will meet Northern Hemisphere heavyweights Wales, England and Scotland, in what will be a true test of the Pumas mantle as a potential true rugby superpower.
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