Wing Santiago Cordero scored a brace of tries as Argentina claimed a 49-31 win over the Barbarians at Twickenham on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
In an entertaining encounter, it was the Pumas who simply had too much class and cohesion, and ultimately made the Barbarians pay for a high error rate that prevented their big-name players from really impacting on the match.
Springboks Victor Matfield and Lood de Jager were solid, if unspectacular, performers in the second row, while Sharks halfbacks Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie came off the bench for the final 30, but by then the Baa-Baas were mostly chasing shadows. Former Bok lock Bakkies Botha also raised a few smiles when he took the final conversion, which, needless to say, was unsuccessful.
The Barbarians fielded a star-studded side, and made an encouraging start as centre Tevita Kuridrani latched onto a grubber to score in the seventh minute, but Argentina quickly settled into their stride and executed some superb pieces of ball-in-hand play to score four tries in the opening stanza.
Two of them would come as they capitalised on handling errors from the Baa-Baas, who quite understandably battled to establish any real rhythm to their play despite valiant efforts to keep the ball alive.
Fleet-footed Cordero scored two well-taken tries, while Facundo Isa and Ramiro Moyano also crossed the tryline as Argentina opened up a 28-12 lead at half-time, with the Baa-Baas only managing one more score before the break as All Black Waisake Naholo dotted down.
The game was effectively over as a contest when Martín Landajo and Jerónimo De la Fuente scored two quick-fire tries for the Pumas, pushing the score out to 42-12 by the 55th minute.
Replacement Joe Tomane scored just before the hour mark, while Nemani Nadolo and Matfield went over for the Baa-Baas before full-time, but it ultimately just made the scoreline look a little more flattering.
Argentina flyhalf Nicolás Sánchez also darted over to score during the latter stages of the clash as the Pumas extended their try tally to seven, emerging as most deserved victors.
Argentina – Tries: Facundo Isa, Santiago Cordero (2), Ramiro Moyano, Martín Landajo, Jerónimo De la Fuente, Nicolás Sánchez. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez (6), Emiliano Boffelli.
Barbarians – Tries: Tevita Kuridrani, Waisake Naholo, Joe Tomane, Nemani Nadolo, Victor Matfield. Conversions: Lima Sopoaga, Nadolo (2).
Argentina – 15 Ramiro Moyano, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Lucas Noguera.
Subs: 16 Santiago Iglesias Valdez, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Tomas Lezana, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Gabriel Ascarate, 23 Emiliano Boffelli.
Barbarians – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Stephen Hoiles, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Toby Smith, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Francois Venter, 24 Joe Tomane.
Photo: Ian Kingston/AFP Photo