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In the first game of the 2014 Americas Rugby Championship, the United States fell to Argentina 41-14. Despite only trailing 21-14 at the break, the Selects were unable to muster a point in the second half and ultimately fell comfortably to the Jaguars.
The Americans committed a penalty off the opening kickoff allowing the Jaguars to earn easy territory. Argentina won the lineout and after five or six phases a pass was slightly behind winger Dan Isaack and knocked on.
The Jaguars continued their pressure earning another penalty. Argentina elected to kick for a lineout rather than take an easy three points. The Pumas appeared to squelch the opportunity as the referee deemed the lineout to be not straight. However, the Argentina pack, which returned five of the players that helped earn its first ever victory in the Rugby Championships over Australia last weekend, was able to strike the ball on the head. The ball was swung wide to Isaack and this time the winger darted over for the first points of the game. At the nine-minute mark, the Selects trailed 7-0.
The USA responded nicely with several phases of play. Playing a penalty advantage, flyhalf Adam Siddall placed a perfectly executed cross kick into the arms of winger Tim Maupin. Maupin proceeded to beat two defenders and score a try under the posts to even the score.
Penalties continued to plague the United States. Argentina set up a lineout from five meters out and was able to drive over. With the conversion, the Jaguars led 14-7 twenty minutes into the game. Argentina added another score when scrumhalf Felipe Ezcurra broke the American line off a ruck and proceeded to run 40 meters. After several phases, prop Matias Diaz drove over in the corner for a 21-7 lead.
Argentina knocked on the ensuing kick off giving the United States a scrum inside the Jaguar 22. After a Selects knock on, the referee awarded a free kick because the Argentine hooker struck early in a scrum. The Americans tapped quickly but once again failed to garner points. The tap yielded a penalty and a lineout from five meters out. The Pumas stole the lineout and kicked away from pressure. The United States continued to probe the Jaguar defense and earned another penalty. This time, the Selects elected to go for points, but Siddall hooked the kick wide. Despite sustained pressure, 35 minutes into the contest the Eagles were unable to cut the deficit.
In the 38th minute, the United States surprisingly elected to tap and go with a penalty roughly 40 meters out. The ball was swung wide, and outside center Chad London beat his counterpart for an easy score right before halftime. At the break, the USA trailed 21-14.
Argentina upped the tempo in the second half, really monopolizing possession. Nevertheless, some solid American defense led to turnovers and a few unforced errors, keeping Argentina from adding to its lead. It looked like the Selects had weathered the storm after a Siddall clearance, with the ball bouncing backwards off the hands of the Jaguar fullback. Winger Facundo Barrea, however, snuck through the broken defense. After an offload and a couple of phases, Isaack scored in the corner for his second try of the afternoon.
Diaz took the ensuing kickoff and the big prop inexplicably broke through the Eagle defense. Isaack, who received an ill-timed pass from Diaz, cleverly kicked it forward and outpaced Chad London for his second try in several minutes and third of the afternoon. A lapse in concentration doomed the Selects. A combination of penalties and tired legs made the 33-14 deficit insurmountable for the Eagles.
Argentina continued to dominate play, forcing the Americans to commit numerous penalties. Phil Thiel was sent to the bin for not rolling away and the USA seemed to be losing its grip on the game. Despite being down a player, however, the Selects only yielded a penalty during the 10-minute stanza.
After returning to the field, Argentina stripped Thiel, resulting in a chip-and-chase try for flyhalf Patricio Rodriguez. Rodriguez missed what was deemed a questionable decision on the conversion but was solid with the boot all day, finishing with 16 points. Coming in the 71st minute, the Rodriguez score sealed the victory for the Jaguars.
After several minutes of scrappy play and an Argentina player yellow carded, the final whistle blew with Argentina taking the victory 41-14.