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SVNS leaders Argentina bounce back with 33-point blitz against New Zealand

By Finn Morton
Luciano Gonzalez #11 of Argentina is tackled by Dylan Collier #5 (L) and Andrew Knewstubb #8 of New Zealand in the men's pool A match during day one of the HSBC SVNS Singapore at the National Stadium on May 03, 2024 in Singapore. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)

SVNS Series leaders Argentina may have silenced some doubters on Friday evening with a stunning 28-point win over New Zealand. The All Blacks Sevens scored first but it was all one-way traffic from there as the Argies piled on 33 unanswered points.

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After an injury to star player Marcos Moneta at the Hong Kong Sevens last month, Los Pumas Sevens struggled to regather their composure and find their flow. The Argentinians looked visibly frustrated and upset as they walked down the tunnel after each of their pool matches.

Argentina ended up missing the quarter-finals for the first time this season. It was an almighty shock considering the Pumas had qualified for the first four Cup finals of the 2023/24 season, which included three wins on the bounce in Cape Town, Perth and Vancouver.

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About three weeks after their shortcomings in Hong Kong China, Argentina were slow out of the blocks in Singapore. James Turner scored a double as Australia ran away with a somewhat comfortable 26-19 win, and Argentina had New Zealand up next.

The All Blacks Sevens had won the Cup final in Hong Kong China and presented a mighty tough challenge on Friday evening. But Argentina, to their credit, were more than up for the fight as they ran away with a ruthless win over their southern hemisphere rivals.

“I think we played a little bit more physical,” Argentina’s Tobias Wade told RugbyPass. “I think we won that battle. With Australia, I think we didn’t.

“The contact and the physicality was a great issue in this game.

“Also, we tried to be calm… and believe in us. We tried to correct all those things and not anything else.”

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Regan Ware scored the opener for New Zealand in just the second minute, but Argentina took control not long after with Rodrigo Isgro and German Schulz both scoring doubles, and Tomas Elizalde also got on the scoresheet.

That result sees Argentina sit second in Pool A behind Australia, while New Zealand are third and Canada fourth. But with that win, Los Pumas Sevens practically have one hand on the inaugural SVNS Series regular season trophy which they can lock up this weekend.

Ireland are the only other side capable of winning the regular season crown, but with the men in green sitting eight points behind the Series frontrunners, it seems unthinkable that Argentina wouldn’t be able to secure the title they so rightly deserve.

“We try to put focus on our things, on the things that we can control,” Wade said when asked about the regular season title.

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“Of course, we know that, we see that possibility but we try to think of the next game, the next move of ourselves.

“Of course, we want to win it but it’s not our main objective.

“We’re always trying to grow and that’s what we are always seeing, to grow, and to be a better team.”

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William 5 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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