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Argentina beat Scotland in rugby series, Springboks down Wales and Chile beat USA to make World Cup finals

It will come as little solace to fans of Australia and New Zealand but the Spingboks and Pumas restored some southern hemisphere pride with victories over Wales and Scotland on Sunday AEST.

All four series between teams from the north and south went to deciders and after the Wallabies fell to England and the All Blacks were stunned by Ireland the north was up 2-0.

Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli scored a last-gasp try to snatch a dramatic 34-31 win and series victory over Scotland in the third Test.

Michael Cheika’s men had to come from 15 points down to win the series at the Estadio Unico Madre de Ciudades.

The pulsating decider ended in dramatic fashion when Argentina worked the ball out wide for Boffelli, who finished with 17 points, to dive over with the last move of the series following some sustained late pressure.

Scotland were 28-13 ahead early in the second half but allowed the hosts to recover and grab the win, restoring pride for the southern hemisphere countries after success earlier on Saturday for Ireland in New Zealand and England in Australia.

Argentina and Scotland each scored four tries with Boffelli contributing another 14 points with his boot.

Argentina’s other tries were scored by Santiago Carreras, Nahuel Tetaz Chapparo and substitute scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou, whose opportunistic effort 13 minutes from time turned the Test in Los Pumas’ favour.

Ewan Ashman and Duhan van der Merwe scored two tries each for Scotland with Blair Kinghorn adding four conversions and a penalty.

Argentina opened the scoring with an early Boffelli penalty, but Van der Merwe was first to cross over for a try, using his strength to power through the home defense after Kinghorn had created space in the 13th minute.

But on 20 minutes Argentina responded on the counterattack, turning over the ball and seeing Carreras outrun the tourists’ defense to score.

Scotland had another try five minutes after that, with Ashman going over from a lineout maul for a 14-13 halftime lead.

Scotland, who had outscored Argentina four tries to nil in last week’s 29-6 second Test win in Salta, looked odds-on to go on and secure the series as Ashman scored again, this time out on the wing, three minutes after the break .

Van der Merwe then went over from close range for a 15-point lead with 30 minutes left as the Scots were in the driving seat.

But changes in the forward pack gave Argentina fresh impetus and a spark of much needed energy at a crucial juncture as Scotland’s challenge faded.

Substitute prop Chapparo immediately scored after coming on. The late strikes from Bertranou and Boffelli saw Argentina squeeze out a dramatic victory, sparking ecstatic celebrations at the stadium.

Earlier South Africa beat Wales 30-14 in the decisive third rugby Test to secure the series 2-1.

Fly-half Handre Polland scored 20 points, including the first try, as the world champions outscored the tourists three tries to one on Saturday.

Bongi Mbonambi and captain Siya Kolisi added the other Springbok scores with Pollard kicking three conversions and three penalties.

Thomas Reffell went over for the Welsh try and skipper Dan Biggar added three penalties for the tourists, who upset the hosts in last week’s second Test in Bloemfontein to set up a series decider.

“We approached it as a final,” Springbok captain Siya Kolisi said.

“It was a tough series but exactly what we needed to start our season.

“A lot of players got opportunities and that was important for us for the future.”

Earlier on Saturday, Ireland had claimed their first-ever series victory in New Zealand, while England also won 2-1 in Australia as those two sides flexed their muscles a little over a year out from the next Rugby World Cup in France.

Wales were in contention for most of the match in Cape Town too but ultimately succumbed to the supremacy of the Bok pack in a game in which both backlines failed to fire and, instead, it became an arm-wrestle among the forwards.

The Boks love that and with their 6-2 split on the bench, they were able to up the power game in the final 20 minutes to take the contest away from the visitors.

They turned down numerous kicks for goal in search of tries and got the first when Pollard scrambled over from close-range after 15 minutes.

Wales struck back straight away as they finally got their hands on the ball and moved through the phases, stretching the Boks out wide before Reffell was able to cross in the corner.

The visitors moved through a few gears and began to enjoy a lot more territory, but the Boks got the next score, again using their brawn, as Mbonambi was able to cross the line from a driving maul and the home side led 17-8 at halftime.

Biggar reduced the deficit with two penalties early in the second period, but the next, and decisive, try went to the hosts.

Wales’ repeated infringements in their own 22 continued, as did the leniency from English referee Matthew Carley to not show them a yellow card, but as the Boks refused the kicks for posts, Kolisi crossed as they pulled away on the scoreboard again.

“We can be very proud,” Biggar declared.

“We said it was important to raise our standard in the last 20 minutes but South Africa squeezed us and we couldn’t get a foothold in the game.”

Meanwhile Chile beat the US Eagles 31-29 to qualify for their first ever World Cup finals. The Americans can still make it through a repechage event.

The US coach, Gary Gold, told reporters his players were “just devastated. It’s just heartbreaking. I just feel so bad for the boys who tried so hard and it’s just the cruelty of sport and it’s just devastating. I’m not sure what else to say.”

Chile will join Argentina in Pool D in France – and England, Japan and Samoa.

© A.A.P.

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