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Dublin: 0°C Friday 27 November 2020

Argentina have one foot in the quarters after bonus point win against Tonga

Argentina impressed after a nervy opening quarter

Nicolas Sanchez scored 25 points.
Nicolas Sanchez scored 25 points.
Image: Rui Vieira

Argentina 45

Tonga 16

ARGENTINA SURVIVED A nervy opening quarter to all but guarantee their place in the quarter finals of the World Cup.

A 20-point rally in the space of seven minutes edged them ahead of the physical Tonga challenge, before they ran clear late on for their second bonus point win of the competition.

Tonga came out like an animal from a cage, and the game was just five minutes old when they crossed for the opening try.

Out-half Kurth Morath started and finished it, making the initial ground before finding a gap in the defence to cross for the try a few minutes later.

Morath struck the post with the conversion, but as the half wore on Argentina began to settle, Nicolas Sanchez getting them off the mark with a penalty on the 20 minute mark.

After getting on the board, they then crossed for a try seconds later with some great work from Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. He occupied the defence, before Joaquin Tuculet touched down.

Their second try just two minutes later was even better. Santiago Cordero broke down the right and cut inside before being tackled. After Tomas Lavanini took a crash up the middle, it was spread to the left wing in the blink of an eye, allowing Juan Imhoff sidestep off the left and under the posts.

Britain Rugby WCup Argentina Tonga Source: Rui Vieira

A second Sanchez penalty made it 20-5, with Argentina’s points scored in the space of seven minutes.

Tonga, however, chipped away at the lead. Morath kicked them to within 12, before a stunning try from Soane Tonga’uiha made it a seven point game just before the break.

Telusa Veainu looked for all the world like he was being forced into touch, before flicking the ball up in the nick of time, allowing the mammoth prop to run in from short range. Morath could’t close the gap further with the conversion, but after seven minutes of madness, Tonga were glad to still be in the game.

The early stages of the second half were like a chess match, with Morath and Sanchez pivotal. The Tongan scored one of three penalty attempts in the quarter of an hour after the break, Sanchez two from three, as Argentina edged 10 points ahead.

But the turning point came with 16 minutes remaining as Sanchez added a try to his tally, cutting inside after the Pumas put some width on the ball.

And when hooker Julian Montoya’s dive to the corner was given by the TMO with eight minutes left, the bonus point and a one foot in the quarter finals was secure. Montoya finished superbly, grounding the ball a fraction of a second before his boot clipped the touchline.

And they weren’t finished there, some more excellent running rugby sending Santiago Cordero in the corner, Sanchez converting to wrap up the 29 point win.

Argentina now move four points clear of Tonga in second place in Pool C, but with Namibia next up for the Pumas, their place in the last eight looks to be a formality.

Argentina scorers:Tries: Santiago Cordero, Julian Montoya, Nicolas Sanchez, Juan Imhoff, Joaquin Tuculet (1 each)

Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (4 from 5)

Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez (4 from 5)

Tonga scorers:

Tries: Kurth Morath, Soane Tonga’uiha (1 each)

Conversions: Kurth Morath (0 from 2)

Penalties: Kurth Morath (2 from 4)

ARGENTINA: Joaquin Tuculet, Santiago Cordero, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Juan Imhoff, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Marcos Ayerza, Agustin Creevy (captain), Ramiro Herrera, Guido Petti, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Leonardo Senatore

Replacements: Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Juan Pablo Orlandi, Matias Alemanno, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Horacio Agulla.

TONGA: Vungakoto Lilo, Telusa Veainu, Siale Piutau, Sione Piukala, Fetu’u Vainikolo, Kurth Morath, Sonatane Takulua; Soane Tonga’uiha, Elvis Taione, Halani Aulika, Tukulua Lokotui, Joe Tu’ineau, Sione Kalamafoni, Nili Latu (captain), Viliami Ma’afu

Replacements: Aleki Lutui, Sona Taumalolo, Sila Puafisi, Sitiveni Mafi, Opeti Fonua, Samisoni Fisilau, Latiume Fosita, David Halaifonua.

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