Samoa A win Americas Pacific Challenge

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 15 Monday 2018, Rugby World Cup News:

Samoa A denies Uruguay A a home win in the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge, while dethroned champions Argentina XV have to settle for second place as the key development tournament comes to an exciting conclusion in Montevideo.

Samoa A are the new Americas Pacific Challenge champions after defeating Uruguay A 38-26 in an entertaining clash at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo.

The Pacific Islanders won all three of their games to finish top of the pile while dethroned champions, Argentina XV, finished runners-up after overwhelming the USA Select XV 55-15.

Canada A signed off on a winning note too, putting the disappointment of earlier defeats to Argentina XV and Uruguay A behind them to edge Tonga A 32-31. The result prevented Kingsley Jones' side finishing bottom of the standings for a second consecutive year and comes as a timely boost ahead of the Canucks' involvement in the Rugby World Cup Repechage tournament in Marseilles next month.


With both teams having won their opening two games, it was all but mathematically certain that a new name would be on the World Rugby Americas Pacific Challenge trophy after two years of Argentinean dominance. 

Cheered on by an enthusiastic home crowd, Uruguay A took a fifth-minute lead when experienced hooker German Kessler was driven over from close range for a converted try.

Uruguay A had the chance to extend their advantage into double figures, but Federico Favaro was unable to kick a penalty opportunity.

Instead it was Samoa A who had the next points of the board, through scrum-half Ionatana Tino, who showed good strength to muscle his way over.

With Alai Leuila converting and adding a penalty, Samoa A had a 10-7 lead just past the half-hour mark. But Kessler’s second try, from another concerted forward effort, sent the home side into the break 12-10 up.

Despite losing winger Johnny Samuelu to an early sin-bin for a dangerous tackle, Samoa A scored the first points of the second half when full-back Bradford Lemalufaitoaga showed good footballing skills before touching down for a try which Leuila improved.

Uruguay A’s forward might earnt them a penalty try in the 57th minute but Samoa A upped their game to score 21 unanswered points and take the game away from the South Americans.

Tries from Samuelu, Danny Tusitala, and Iakopo Petelo, in a devastating 15-minute period, silenced the crowd before replacement hooker Manuel Ardao grabbed a late consolation for Uruguay A.