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Argentina look to end Blitzboks’ Dubai SVNS reign after making another final

By Finn Morton
Marcos Moneta of Argentina celebrates scoring the match winning try during the 2023 Sydney Sevens match between Argentina and Canada at Allianz Stadium on January 27, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Following a breakout season on the circuit in 2022/23, Argentina are through to another SVNS Cup final after overcoming New Zealand in a thrilling semi-final in Dubai on Sunday afternoon.

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New Zealand, Fiji and South Africa are traditionally the teams to beat in men’s sevens, but a new heavyweight of the sport has not just emerged but arrived.

Argentina claimed a somewhat surprising bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, and that history-making achievement has spurred Los Pumas Sevens on to more greatness in SVNS.

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This time last year, Argentina had gone a long time without a title in sevens, but that 14-year Cup final drought came to a stunning end as they hit their stride in Hamilton.

Playing against the All Blacks Sevens at their home World Series leg – with sevens leaving New Zealand for the foreseeable future, too – Argentina shocked the world to claim gold.

That was the start of something special with Los Pumas Sevens also claiming Cup final honours in Vancouver and London on their way to a best-ever second-placed finish on the overall standings.

But with all that in the past, Argentina is intent on creating more magical moments in SVNS 2023/24. In the opening leg of the new season, they’re through to another final.

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“It was a really tough match,” Argentina star Marcos Moneta told RugbyPass after the semi-final.

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“Emotions (are) happy. We’re always looking to play these sorts of matches: quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals.

“There’s a big road to Paris and all of these matches will help.

“Versing New Zealand, nowadays they’re the best in sevens rugby – they demonstrated that last season. We always want to play with them to improve ourselves, improve our team. Really happy for the win.”

Argentina will face South Africa in the Cup final on Sunday evening which sets up a mouthwatering clash. As Moneta is fully aware, the Blitzboks are traditionally the team to beat in Dubai.

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South Africa has won the last four Dubai SVNS finals on the bounce, and their dominance extends to six from eight dating back to 2014.

But that’s a challenge the Argentinian appeared more than eager to take on – although he didn’t know it at first.

Still drenched in sweat about 15 minutes after the semi-final, Moneta couldn’t stop smiling after being informed that South Africa is waiting for Argentina in the big dance.

“We were playing the match, they were playing before so I didn’t know that it was South Africa,” Moneta added.

“South Africa are really strong at this sevens. (I was) told that they won seven of the last nine, I don’t know if that’s true.

“They are strong, they have a lot of good players coming back – Rosko Specman, (Selvyn) Davids. They have a really good team.

“It’s going to be a tough match but we want to defend the gold medal that we won in London.”

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Eabn 7 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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