Argentina savours golden revenge on France for Nanjing 2014 defeat
The Argentine men’s rugby team continued its crushing pace and beat France with authority in the final to complete a six-game winning streak.
The Argentine men’s team held most of their practices leading up to Buenos Aires 2018 on the field in CASI La Boya. It was in the same location, but this time with the stands packed with elated fans, that Los Pumitas (Little Pumas) fulfilled their dream and added another gold to Argentina’s medal count.
"This is due to the extraordinary work we did in recent years. In the game against France we put into practice what we do in all the training camps. We are very happy. Now we can enjoy it,” said Tomas Vanni after his team’s golden triumph.
The Argentines beat the French 24-14 in the final to end the championship undefeated. The victory also doubled as long-awaited revenge on the defeat they suffered at the hands of the French during the Nanjing 2014 final.
The local team was dominant on their path to gold: 50-7 against Samoa, 45-0 against Japan, 29-12 against France, 34-5 against South Africa and 22-14 against the United States in the group stage.
The Argentines also did not waver in the final where they left their rival without a chance. Ignacio Mendy’s try in the beginning eased the team’s nerves, which was followed by one from Lucio Cinti Luna, and another from Nicholas Roger, to finish the first half 19-0.
France responded with two tries, but Ramiro Costa scored right on time to secure Argentina the gold medal.
"There are no words to describe this moment. It’s something that doesn’t happen every day. The key was in the group and the location helped us a lot too,” said Argentina’s Bautista Pedemonte.
"It's a huge relief after three years of sacrifice and this team deserves the gold medal," added his teammate Julian Hernandez.
Coach Lucas Borges, a former Puma, praised his team: "I feel a great joy because the boys exceeded expectations. They showed everything they had done in the practices on the field. Now each one is going to go on his journey to continue representing the Argentinian jersey.”
Japan wrapped up the podium in the men's rugby sevens tournament after beating South Africa 28-5 in the bronze medal match.
In the women’s tournament, New Zealand beat France 15-12 to claim the gold, while Canada beat Colombia 24-19 for the bronze.