Pampas XV finish top of standings
Argentina’s Pampas XV made it eight from eight in the Vodacom Cup group stages when they beat Namibia’s Welwitschias 52-10 (halftime 17-3) at the Hage Geingob Stadium in Windhoek on Friday to comfortably top the South section.
The Pampas side scored eight tries in an impressive display that takes them to 37 log points, seven ahead of the Sharks XV, who have also completed the round-robin, and eight clear of third-placed Western Province, who could go second if they beat the Leopards in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
But whatever happens, the Pampas team will finish the competition’s group stages as the only unbeaten team and they will surely now be installed as favourites to lift the trophy -- although knockout rugby is a different kettle of fish and one poor performance in the quarterfinals can undo a season of good work.
The visitors, as they have done on a number of occasions this year, put on a superb display of running rugby for the small Windhoek crowd on an overcast and rainy evening.
As they displayed in victories over the Blue Bulls and Griquas in particular, the Pampas forwards lived up to the reputation of their countrymen by doing the basics very well, dominating the collisions, and displaying a hunger for bone-crunching defence.
Allied to this, they have a points-machine in flyhalf Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias and a back division who, no matter which combination of players are chosen, come up with clever angles of attack and clinical finishing out wide by men like Juan Imhoff, who posssess some genuine pace.
And let’s not forget the nuggety scrumhalf Martin Landajo, who has been the quiet spark from the base of the scrum. Against the Welwitschias, he again showed his hunger for tries when he opened the scoring in the ninth minute and then added a second five minute before halftime to cap another industrious performance.
The Pampas XV scored three tries in the opening 40 minutes and another five after the break as the Welwitschias, as they displayed against Western Province earlier in the season, never gave up but simply ran out of gas against far fitter and stronger opponents who know how to wear down weaker teams.
Welwitschias 10 – Try: Theuns Kotze. Conversion: Chrysander Botha. Penalty: Botha.
Pampas XV 52 – Tries: Martin Landajo (2), Mauricio Guidone, Juan Imhoff, Genaro Fessia (2), Nicolas Bruzzone, Miguel de Achaval. Conversions: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias (6).