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Pumas Show They Are Ready to Pounce in LA

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Pumas Show They Are Ready to Pounce in LA

David Barpal photo.

Argentina is back.

OK, they didn't really leave, but beating New Zealand at New Zealand's own 7s tournament is a signal that the Pumas have taken a big step forward. Finishing 5th, 6th, and 6th in the first three tournaments wasn't exactly poor form, but Argentina exceeded or equaled 5th eight out of nine tournaments in 2022, including two finals.

So perhaps they had slipped a bit. They came into Hamilton standing 8th in the World Series, but admittedly this 2023 season is a weird one and everyone in the top nine was pretty close to everyone else.

Need any further evidence? How about that by winning in Hamilton the Pumas vaulted from 8th to third.

Watch Argentina in the LA Sevens February 25-26. Tickets available here>>

They did it playing their classic Argentinian approach to 7s, only more so.

Argentinian 7s teams don't aggressively seek out contact, but when they know it's inevitable, they make it an earth-shaking collision. The plan is clearly to make sure it is no fun to tackle them. The result is often the ballcarrier going through a tackle, or at least landing so clear from the tackler than an offload is easy.

Argentinian 7s teams also kick in open field way more than most other teams. This last weekend they didn't kick a huge amount, but putting boot to ball produced some key positive moments against the USA in the semifinals, especially Marcos Moneta's grubber after a turnover to establish a two-score lead over the Eagles.

Moneta's return to the Pumas is very welcome by his teammates. He goes from zero to 100 in about two steps, which makes it very difficult to line him up, and despite his seemingly slight frame he hits very hard. Third in the World Series in tries scored in 2022, Moneta does add a little spark to the Pumas' attack.

But he's not the only one. Matías Osadczuk is another punishing runner. Gaston Revol is a brilliant veteran presence (14 years with the team) and field general. Agustin Fraga tied Moneta for 4th in tries in Hamilton with five and Luciano Gonzalez was just one behind. Rodrigo Isgro adds an extra bit of agro to the mix.

Revol is set to tie James Rodwell's record for most World Series tournament appearances in Sydney, which is pretty amazing.

"The record is not my goal," Revol told Sudamerica Rugby (see the full interview and profile here>>). "It's tempting to be the player with the most tournaments. The truth is that it is not a minor [stat]. But I always say that my sporting achievements are more for the people who love me and supported me. The challenge now is mental,being able to turn the page, enjoy the post-tournament, and start over."

With the LA Sevens coming soon Argentina is hitting form at just the right time. The Pumas have found success on US soil before and might be in a position to take the lead in the entire World Series if that holds true this time around.

Watch Argentina in the LA Sevens February 25-26. Tickets available here>>

Now 3rd in the Series with 59 points, only two behind the USA and four behind New Zealand, the Pumas can take solace in just having beaten both of those sides. Yes, true, they needed a little bit of luck in both games, especially in the final seconds against the All Blacks 7s, but they are still ready to pounce.

And they have to be. Warns Revol: "you relax or they walk all over you."