Los Jaguares look dead certs to wrap up their 5th consecutive ARC title in the not-so-grand finale as they face off against tournament hosts Canada. The vast majority of anticipation for this match was sucked out with Canada’s diabolical performance on Wednesday night against the United States. With pride very much on the line, not to mention World Cup prospects for a select few, it remains a match worth keeping an eye on for rugby diehards.
Kieran Crowley has finally conceded called an end to the Gordon McRorie flyhalf experiment, and he will at last get a chance to show his class as a scrumhalf. Patrick Parfrey moves into the flyhalf role, with the Ontario midfield duo of Derek Daypuck and Jordan Wilson-Ross forming an entirely different attacking structure to a stagnant backline. Nick Blevins is asked to fill in on the wing in place of Dan Moor, while Sean Ferguson moves to his favoured fullback position in place of Pat Kay. The other wing spot goes to Sean Duke, who answers an SOS to provide some genuine striking ability that has been thus far absent.
The forwards see only one change, with James Smith given a chance to prove his versatility by starting at loosehead prop in place of Tom Dolezel. It’s a slight gamble given Dolezel’s strength in the scrum, but one worth taking to get a proper valuation of Smith’s abilities. Seb Pearson is a bit lucky to retain his spot at the back of the scrum after a rough outing against the Americans, and one has to wonder what Admir Cejvanovic has done not to be handed a start. With any luck he will see significant time in the second half along with Kyle Baillie, one of the standouts in the opening match against Uruguay.
Argentina have reverted to their side that opended against the United States after an under-par performance by the second stringers against Uruguay. Juan Cruz Guillemaín has been given the nod over Guido Petti to partner Matías Alemanno in the second row in the only chance up front. Captain Rodrigo Báez runs out for his third consecutive start and will hope his side puts enough early points on the board to allow him an early shower.
Brian Ormson’s impressive role in resurrecting the Jaguars backline on Wednesday has earned him a shot at flyhalf, with Patricio Fernández moving to the rear-guard position in place of Román Miralles. Dynamic duo Joaquin Paz and Juan Ignacio Brex form an ominous midfield pairing, while Dan Isaack is fit to resume duties on the left wing.
Previous history, form, and class all point towards a heavy victory for Argentina. While this Canadian lineup looks an upgrade from the one that failed against Uruguay, the entirely new backline composition might pose some problems in continuity and defensive alignment. The set pieces should lean towards Argentina, but Canada have thus far proved more than competent in the scrums. If the Jaguars find the tryline early this one could get ugly, but surely Canada will put up a reasonable fight to save face. Take Argentina by 18.
CANADA ‘A’ vs ARGENTINA JAGUARS
Sunday, October 19, 16:30 PST, Langford
*Argentina reserves unconfirmed