Rugby

Los Pumas out to defend title

2017-02-10 10:05
Argentina (AFP)

Los Angeles - Defending champions Argentina, who downed Canada 20-6 at snowy Langford last week, return home to host Canada at Bahia Blanca on Saturday in the second round of the Americas Rugby Championship.

Lautaro Bazan has been summoned from World Rugby Sevens Series duty to bolster the Argentina squad, who are heavy favorites to retain their title in the Six Nations-style event despite fielding a largely second-level squad.

The mercurial scrumhalf replaces Juan Manuel Lescano in one of half a dozen changes to the squad that won last Saturday.

Uruguay are coming off a 29-23 loss to the United States in San Antonio, Texas.

The USA stay in Texas to host Brazil in Austin. Brazil hope to build on a 17-3 victory over Chile in the opening match of the tournament.

The Eagles will be without Zack Test, who required surgery for a head injury sustained against Uruguay.

Canada are back in Langford, British Columbia, where wintry weather is again predicted for their clash with Chile.

Canada scrumhalf Phil Mack said he expects Chile to offer a similar physical challenge to that of Argentina.

"They play the same abrasive style, they're going to be big and physical," he said. "I thought for 60 minutes we fronted up really well (against Argentina), but we've got to do it for 80."

While Argentina have already booked a spot in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the regional tournament is a key tuneup for World Cup qualifying bids by Canada and the United States, who play a qualifying series in June.

Read more on:    argentina  |  canada  |  rugby
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