Argentina cruised past the United States 47-17 in their final appearance at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Joaquin Tuculet scored a first-half double to set Los Pumas on their way before Juan Cruz Mallia added a double of his own in the second half to give Argentina a comfortable win.
The USA held Argentina scoreless for almost 20 minutes before Nicolas Sanchez exchanged passes with Mallia, scored the opening try and then converted his own score.
Sanchez was excellent in the first half as he laid on the next dot-down for Tuculet, before full-back Tuculet added a third Argentina try leading into half-time.
Blaine Scully reduced the arrears a minute before the break, but two scores from Mallia early in the second period put paid to American hopes.
Jeronimo De La Fuente and Gonzalo Bertranou added further tries in the second half to extend the Pumas’ lead, with Scully and Paul Lasike weighing in with consolations for the Eagles.
Argentina finish their Pool C campaign with 11 points, having suffered defeats to England and France, while the USA will hope to avoid bottom place with a win over Tonga on Sunday.
For Argentina, Wednesday’s match marked the end of an era, with veteran back-rower Juan Manuel Leguizamon signing off from international rugby after winning an 87th cap.
“They were playing for somebody very special today, and really happy he had the farewell he deserved”@lospumas head coach Mario Ledesma gets emotional in post match interview after his side’s win over USA#ARGvUSA #RWC2019 pic.twitter.com/yTZLkhb3bZ
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 9, 2019
Sanchez shines for the Pumas
Stade Francais fly-half Nicolas Sanchez put on a tremendous showing in the first half as he broke the line early to link up with Mallia for the deadlock-breaker, before returning the favour after a spirited United States start.
A disappointing campaign ends with farewell to stalwart Leguizamon
Argentina’s hopes of making the quarter-finals were dashed after defeats to France and England, but they mustered enough emotional energy to give a lively farewell to retiring hero Leguizamon. The 36-year-old has been a model of consistency for Los Pumas when called upon across four Rugby World Cups and his experience will be sorely missed.
USA need to cut down on cheap turnovers
The United States face Tonga in arguably their most winnable game of the pool stage on Saturday, but they need to improve their defensive effort and retain possession better if they are to defeat Tonga.
The USA will hope to get their first win of this Rugby World Cup in their final pool game with Tonga on Saturday, while Argentina’s campaign has come to an end.