Pumas tame physical Lions to book spot in final
Classic Pumas defeated Lions Legends 25-0 to set up a World Rugby Classic show piece final against defending champions France.
In a tight contest, three tries, two conversions and penalty goals and a drop goal gave the Argentinians a convincing victory. The final, to be played on Thursday, will be a repeat of last year’s title decider, which the French won 21-20.
The early stages of the match were characterised by a lot of up-and-under kicks from both sides, as they tried by all means to gain some ground and unlock each other’s tight defences.
Alenjandro Campos opened the scoring in the match when he planted the ball over the line from a well worked moved by the South Americans. Gabriel Ascarte added the conversion and a further penalty goal to make it 10-0 going into half-time.
Centre Federicko Amelong extended the advantage with a great finish to a well-executed move, only for Ascarte to miss the conversion. Argentina were reduced to 14 players when Patricio Patricio Sanchez Arguello was sent to the sin-bin for five minutes.
Despite being a player down, the Pumas still went further ahead as Roman Miralles gathered a loose ball to score a third try, the successful conversion from Ascarte made it 22-0.
Ascarte successfully kicked a drop goal to finish with ten points on the night, in what was his last contribution before he was withdrawn.
Argentina captain Gonzalo Tiesi was pleased with the win, as his side looks forward to the final against France.
“We’re really happy, we had very tough opposition today,’’ Tiesi said. “The Lions are always tough. We had to raise the bar a little bit from the previous game against Italy.
“I think the guys played a very smart game. We kicked well, defended well at times and so we should be glad with the performance.
“We played France in the final last year and lost by one point, so we are looking forward to the challenge.”
In the Plate semi-final, Classic Springboks thrashed Italian Classic XV 64-20. The South Africans will now face Canada in the Plate final, to be played as a curtain-raiser to the title decider on Thursday.