Both matches on the opening weekend of the South American A Championship went according to the form book with wins for last year’s top two, Uruguay and Chile.
An 8,000 strong crowd saw Uruguay defeat hosts Brazil 36-14 at the majestic Allianz Parque, home of world-famous Palmeiras FC, in what was the first international rugby match to be screened live on free-to-air national television in Brazil.
Unfortunately for Os Tupís and their growing band of supporters, they came up against an inspired Uruguayan outfit that played to a high level despite being affected by a stomach bug, which forced the late withdrawal of three of their players on the eve of the game.
For the first hour it was all light blue as the higher-ranked Uruguayans took the game to Os Tupis. Martín Secco opened the scoring with a penalty and by the end of the first half it was 22-0 to the visitors, after tries from flanker Gonzalo Campomar, centre Joaquín Prada and second-row Diego Magno.
Uruguay continued where they left off after the restart, Campomar scoring his second try before fatigue finally kicked in and Brazil, trailing 29-0 at this point, capitalised with tries for flanker Mark Jackson and full-back Felipe Sancery. Moisés Duque added both conversions.
Despite Brazil’s best efforts, it was Uruguay who had the final word when hooker Germán Kessler dotted down and Santiago Martínez added the extras.
Uruguay remain in 20th place in the World Rugby Rankings, while Brazil actually climb up one place to 37th as a result of Paraguay losing 0.79 of a ranking point following their heavy defeat to Chile.
Chile dominated Paraguay from the first whistle as they put the disappointment of their last place finish in the Americas Rugby Championship behind them with a convincing 68-7 win in Santiago.
Los Condores raced into a 32-0 half-time lead against the Yakares, captain Benjamin Soto leading from the front with the opening score after just three minutes.
Soto’s try was followed by a brace from Manuel Gurruchaga, while Pablo Casas, Pedro Verschae and Germán Herrera also got their names on the scoresheet. In difficult kicking conditions due to the strong wind, the normally reliable Matías Nordenflycht was only able to slot one of his kicks at goal.
The second half followed a similar pattern with Juan Pablo Perrota and then Rodrigo Fernández extending the lead to 46-0.
Paraguay full-back Sergio Alvarenga ran in an interception and converted his own try as the visitors finally stemmed the flow of points against them but the respite was only temporary as Nordenflycht stepped up to kick a penalty and then scored a try.
Two late efforts from Matías Contreras and Gustavo Carrasco brought the curtain down on a one-sided affair.
Chile earned 0.79 of a ranking point to move up two places in the World Rugby Rankings to 27th, climbing above Kenya and Ukraine in the process.
Next Saturday, both winning sides find themselves away from home for the second round of the South American A Championship with Uruguay travelling to Asunción to tackle Paraguay while Chile will be in Sao Paulo for the game against Brazil.
With thanks to World Rugby