Sunday, October 16, 2016

Recap: Selects Fall To Uruguay

By Derek Sagehorn

Uruguay A defeated the USA Selects Sunday afternoon 47-15 in Montevideo with destructive scrummaging and the boot of flyhalf Jeronimo Etcheverry.

The Selects struggled to retain possession early against Uruguay. A combination of mishandled balls, isolated runners and poor scrummaging ensured the Americans were on the back foot for the majority of the period. The Selects’ Ben Cima drew first blood after Uruguayan loosehead prop Mateo Sanguinetti tip tackled Matt Jensen in the lineout; three points to the USA and a yellow card to Sanguinetti. The ten minute disadvantage in the pack did nothing to slow the shove of the Uruguayans at scrum time. The Select forwards were routinely pushed off the mark through a slow, patient drive from the hosts. Jeronimo Etcheverry punished the Americans for such mistakes with a couple of penalties. The scoreline ticked over again when a movement in the midfield found space and JoaquĆ­n Dell'Acqua scored, 13-3 Uruguay.

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The situation got worse several minutes later when Angus Maclellan was carded for scrum infringements. Etcheverry penalized the USA with another impressive kick at goal and then another for scrum infringement to extend the lead 19-3.

Starved for possession, the Selects made only a handful of forays into the Uruguay A half. They did do well to disrupt the lineout in defense. Such work led to an American possession near the Uruguay five meter line. Tough graft from the forwards let Jake Turnbull reach over the line for five points; Cima converted. Uruguayan resilience led to a scrum on the American five meter. A strong shove turned away the American open-side, leaving Cima, Campbell and Iosefo without cover. Santiago Gibernau ran a tight line between the centers and stepped over for a well-earned try. Uruguay A went into half 26-10, a familiar position for the Selects.

Out of the shed, the Selects played with more urgency. At lineout, another Uruguayan tipped Matt Jensen and was promptly binned. Ben Cima directed an American attack near halfway that found Cecil Garber space. Joe Taufete’e connected well and quick hands from the Selects pack put Malon Al Jiboori in the corner. The Selects tried to recreate the magic of quick ball, but the Uruguay forwards retrenched. The scrum continued to come apart and Etcheverry put the ball to the corner at each opportunity. Christian Ostberg was carded for a side-entry defending the maul. Again, the hosts opted for the corner and this time Diego Magno grounded for a try. Etcheverry’s conversion extended the lead 33-15. A promising American response to the try was snuffed out when the assistant referee spotted a Demecus Beach neckroll. The replacement prop was carded and the Selects were left with 13 on the field. A sniping run from halfback Santiago Arata created the space for a Guillermo Lijtenstein try; 40-15.

The final score of the day was emblematic of the Selects struggles. At a scrum outside of their own 22, the referee questioned whether the Selects had enough qualified front-rowers to run a contested scrum. The Americans insisted and were promptly disintegrated after the first shove. Halfback Arata scooped up the ball, passed to a streaking Rodrigo Silva who stepped back and scored under the posts. Final 47-15. Credit to Uruguay A for identifying the American weakness in the scrum and exploiting it ruthlessly. The Selects had moments of brilliance but they were far too few because they could not win their own ball cleanly.


  1. I was only able to see the last 25 minutes but it was pathetic. Nothing but penalties, which led to the ball being in our 25 most of the time. The yellow cards were from simple mistakes. Who knows how good the backs are, they looked dangerous the few times they had the ball but the scrum was embarassing. How can forwards that are supposedly the up and comers be so awful in the scrum? We seem to have no clue how to scrummage, is that all a tight 5 issue or coaching?

  2. I was under the impression that this is a development program designed to prepare emerging players for the rigors of playing at the highest level in the future and to give national level coaches an idea of what needs fixing. As such I am sure that a coach the caliber of Ray Egan will not have missed any details when he reports back to USA Rugby.