Argentina finish campaign with flurry of tries against USA

Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez showed Argentina what they had been missing with a masterful first-half performance Wednesday, as the eliminated Pumas restored some pride with a 47-17 win against the United States at the Rugby World Cup.

Nicolás Sánchez, dropped for the crucial loss against England last weekend, scored the first of Argentina's seven tries and pulled the strings from flyhalf as the twice semi-finalists went out of the tournament with a bang.

But the Stade Francais playmaker ran the show against the United States in Kumagaya, getting Argentina off the mark after a cagey first 20 minutes by outpacing U.S. fullback Mike Te'o to the line.

Tuculet grabbed the third as well, again made by Sanchez who pulled in several defenders, leaving the USA short of numbers out wide and giving the fullback a one-on-one that he took easily.

There were two tries each for Joaquin Tuculet and man-of-the-match center Juan Cruz Mallia, while recalled flyhalf Nicholas Sanchez, Jeronimo De La Fuente and Gonzalo Bertranou also scored to secure their ninth win in nine meetings with the U.S.

Tuculet crossed for the third try after catching a pass from Felipe Ezcurra and beating a defender, but the Eagles battled back with captain Blaine Scully dotting down on a grubber kick from AJ MacGinty to make it 19-5 at the break.

With nothing to lose, Argentina were playing a highly entertaining brand of free-flowing rugby and slicing through American defences seemingly at will. Mallia was through again under the posts eight minutes into the second half.

Replacement Gonzalo Bertranou put the icing on the Argentina cake with a seventh score after the Pumas had again carved up a defensively questionable U.S. midfield.

Los Pumas, ranked 10th in the world, finished their campaign with two wins and two losses in a hard Pool C. The win over No. 15 Eagles guaranteed Mario Ledesma's men third place in the pool and an automatic qualification to the 2023 tournament in France. The United States will face Tonga in their final Pool C game.

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