Pat Parfray. Photo by UAR/Gaspafotos/Juan Gasparini
Pat Parfray. Photo by UAR/Gaspafotos/Juan Gasparini
Thirty-four unanswered points propelled Argentina XV to a 54-21 win over Canada in their Americas Rugby Championship clash in Rosario Sunday afternoon. Holding a 21-20 lead in the 39th minute, Canada surrendered 34 straight points as Argentina XV ran in four second half tries as well as re-taking the lead in the 40th minute through Franco Cuaranta’s try.

Canada got two tries from scrum-half Andrew Ferguson while winger Dan Moor went over for his third try of the ARC.

“Their sets, pace and ability to keep the ball alive was the difference,” interim head coach Francois Ratier said. “We wanted to keep the ball in hand as they had a strong counter attack but at the beginning of the second half we didn’t stick with the plan.

“It was then hard for us to stay in the game after that.”

Trailing 12-0 after two early tries through captain Santiago Iglesias and Juan Pablo Estellés, with Pedro Mercerat converting the latter, Canada got into the game as Moor received the ball out wide after some quick ball movement, beat a defender and dived over. Ferguson converted to cut the lead to 12-7 after just 13 minutes.

Mercerat extended Argentina XV’s lead to 15-7 with a penalty in the 20th minute and the lead could have been more had it not been for Pat Parfrey’s outstanding last-ditch cover tackle to prevent a try minutes later. However, Argentina XV’s attack wouldn’t be contained in the 28th minute as flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamón crashed over after Canada’s Kyle Baillie had been penalized for a high tackle moments earlier.

Trailing by 13, Canada came roaring back as Ferguson grabbed his first try of the day after Baillie had created a 2-on-1 before offloading to the Mississauga, Ont., native. Canada went right back on the offensive off of the kickoff and after a number of phases, including Duncan Maguire exploiting a hole to get inside the 5 meter line, Ferguson dove over from the back of the ruck.

His conversion on both tries gave Canada a 21-20 lead but they’d fall behind heading into half time as Cuaranta found space on the wing to push Argentina XV ahead 27-21 at the break. Ferguson was a late replacement for Canada as he was called into the starting XV only hours before kickoff in place of Gordon McRorie. Ferguson had tallied 15 points in Canada’s last two ARC games since making his debut against the USA in Week 2.

“Andrew was ready for the challenge,” Ratier said. “He is learning every game and is always improving as today showed.”

Mercerat opened the second half with a penalty inside five minutes and then Argentina XV’s pack went to work as they dominated the Canadian forwards before being rewarded with a penalty try after repeat infringements in the scrum that cost captain Hubert Buydens 10 minutes as he was sent to the bin.

Argentina XV refused to let up and added three more tries through Lucas González Amorosino, Leguizamón and Estellés to round out an impressive performance.

Canada returns to action next Saturday as they tackle Chile in their final game of the ARC. Kickoff is 6pm ET/3pm PT with streaming details to be announced.

Canada’s Team to face Argentina XV (Name, club, hometown):

1. Hubert Buydens, captain – (Castaway Wanderers/Prairie Wolf Pack) Saskatoon, SK
2. Ray Barkwill – Captain (Castaway Wanderers/Ontario Blues) Niagara Falls, ON
3. Djustice Sears-Duru – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
4. Kyle Baillie – (St. Albert RFC/Atlantic Rock) Summerside, PEI
5. Cam Pierce – (Pau) Vernon, BC
6.  Lucas Rumball – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Scarborough, ON
7. Alistair Clark – (Bay Street Pigs/Ontario Blues) Oakville, ON
8. Clay Panga – (Westshore Valhallians/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
9. Andrew Ferguson – (Oakville Crusaders/Ontario Blues) Mississauga, ON
10. Pat Parfrey – (Swilers RFC/Atlantic Rock) St. John’s, NL
11. Duncan Maguire – (St. Albert RFCC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB
12. Nick Blevins – (Calgary Hornets/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
13. Phil Mackenzie – (Sale Sharks/Ontario Blues), Oakville, ON
14. Dan Moor – (Balmy Beach RFC/Ontario Blues) Toronto, ON
15. Brock Staller – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Vancouver, BC
16. Eric Howard – (Brantford Harlequins/Ontario Blues) Ottawa, ON
17. Ryan Kotlewski – (Calgary Saints/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
18. Rob Brouwer – (Lindsay RFC/Ontario Blues) Lindsay, ON
19. Alex Mascott – (UBC Thunderbirds/BC Bears) Langley, BC
20. Michael Hamson – (Halifax Tars/Atlantic Rock) Halifax, NS
21. Brett Johnson – (Truro Saints/Atlantic Rock) Truro, NS
22. Gradyn Bowd – (UVIC Vikes/Prairie Wolf Pack) Calgary, AB
23. Jacob Robinson – (St. Albert RFC/Prairie Wolf Pack) St. Albert, AB

Canada’s Coaching Staff:

Francois Ratier — Head Coach
Chris Silverthorn — Assistant Coach
James Kent — Performance Analyst
Andy Evans — Strength and Conditioning Coach
Carla Brash— Athletic Therapist
Rich Gregory — Athletic Therapist
Dr. John Gillis — Team Doctor
Mark Winokur — Team Manager