Uruguay have secured the Rugby Nations Cup for a third year in a row.
Heading into the final round of the competition, all four sides (Uruguay, Russia, Argentina XV and Namibia) had one win and one loss to their names – meaning that first place was still mathematically achievable for all the competing teams.
Russia whitewashed Namibia 20-nil, which put them in the box seat early on the final day. Come the final game of the competition, a bonus point victory for the Argentina XV would see them take the crown whilst Uruguay simply needed to secure a victory – all other results would see Russia top the log.
The sub-par weather in Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, meant that tries were always going to be hard to come by. This, of course, did not work in Argentina’s favour; they needed to touch-down four times to secure the championship.
As the game developed, it became increasingly clear that a bonus point victory was not on the cards for the Argentina. Uruguay scored the first try of the match within ten minutes of kick-off and never gave up their lead. Uruguay were ahead 20-10 at half-time and Argentina could do nothing to wrestle a victory off the 2017 and 2018 champions.
The match finished 28-15 in Uruguay’s favour and consigned the Argentina XV to a third place finish.
A number of the Argentina XV players will spend the rest of the season representing the country in the second tier of South Africa’s Currie Cup – though backs Lucas Mensa and Manuel Montero could feature for the national side after being named in Argentina’s World Cup training squad.
Uruguay, meanwhile, have matches to play against Spain and Brazil. A number of national representatives are still with their Major League Rugby sides and should return for those World Cup warm-ups. While their schedule isn’t ideal in the lead-up to the showcase tournament, it still beats Namibia’s – who have no further scheduled matches.
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