The 2018 edition was a special tournament for Los Pumas. There was change of coach for the Rugby Championship, following the resignation of Daniel Hourcade at the end of the June window. The Head Coach position was Mario Ledesma assumed, who had returned to the country at the beginning of the year to lead Jaguares in Super Rugby.
In Gold Coast, history changed and the Argentine national team beat the Wallabies 23-19 for the Rugby Championship.
During this first year of the former first line of the Argentine national team, The Pumas for the first time achieved two victories in the same edition: they beat him at the Malvinas Argentinas stadium (Mendoza) to South Africa, by 32 to 19 and in Gold Coast did the same against Australia, 23 to 19, in what was also the first away success in Oceania since entering the tournament in 2012.
In the remaining performances, the Argentines could not against New Zealand in Nelson (24-46) and at the José Amalfitani Stadium (17-35). Already at the close of the tournament they reaped a painful defeat in Salta, where the Wallabies turned an incredible game to take the victory by 45 to 34, after having a very wide disadvantage of 31 to 7 in the first stage.
In the lands where the 2020 Rugby Championship will be played, the Argentine back was ungraspable for the Wallabies in the unforgettable 23-19.
The All Blacks once again repeated the title of champions, albeit this time with a loss. In an exceptional match, the Springboks beat them at Welllington by a tight and remembered 36-34, in one of the best matches in the history of this contest. In just 15 minutes the men in black took advantage through Jordie Barrett and Aaron Smith. With the score 12 to 0 it seemed that they were heading to a new and comfortable victory, however, the Boks surprised them and supported three tries in a row (Dyantyi, Le Roux and Marx), to go to rest up by 24 to 17. In the second stage hit again, with conquests by Kolbe and another by Dyanyi (36-24). The local comeback, with the conquests of Taylor and Savea, did not reach and the much celebrated 36 to 34 was decreed for the South Africans, a key triumph in the Erasmus cycle, which later crowned him with the world title in Japan, a year later.
In MendozaThe starting Pumas that beat South Africa by 32 to 19 were the following: Emiliano Boffelli; Bautista Delguy, Matías Moroni, Bautista Ezcurra and Ramiro Moyano; Nicolás Sánchez and Gonzalo Bertranou; Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer and Pablo Matera; Tomás Lavanini and Guido Petti; Juan Figallo, Agustín Creevy (captain) and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. They then entered: De la Fuente, Lezana, García Botta, Cubelli, Medrano, Alemanno, Bosch and Mallía. The Argentine conquests were Delguy (2), Moyano and Sánchez, who also added three conversions, a penalty and a drop.
Later, in Gold Cost, the Argentine team took to the field with two variants with respect to the victory achieved in Mendoza. De la Fuente instead of Ezcurra and Medrano for Figallo. Those who entered from the relay bench were Alemanno, Bautista Ezcurra, Montoya, García Botta, Zeiss, Leguizamón and Mallía, while Martín Landajo did not add minutes. Again the tries came through Delguy and Sánchez, who also contributed a penalty and two conversions. Emiliano Boffelli also added two penalties to complete the final score from 23 to 19.
The second line recalled that emotional moment that allowed Los Pumas to endure the 23-19 to celebrate against the Wallabies in Gold Coast back in 2018.
The tucumano Nicolas Sanchez, already established as a historic scorer for Los Pumas, was the tournament’s top scorer: he finished with 67 points, followed by New Zealand’s Beauden Barrett with 61 and South Africa’s Handré Pollard with 47.
With respect to tries, there were three players who finished with five conquests at the top of the list: the New Zealanders Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane, and the South African Aphiwe Dyantyi. For his part, Nicolás Sánchez got four tries, and Boffelli and Delguy finished with three.
The Squad at the 2018 Rugby Championship (33 players): Alemanno, Bertranou, Boffelli, Bosch, Cancelliere, Cortés, Creevy, Cubelli, De la Fuente, Delguy, B. Ezcurra, Figallo, Fortuny, García Botta, González Iglesias, Herrera, Kremer, Landajo, Lavanini, Leguizamón , Lezana, Mallía, Matera, Medrano, Montoya, Moroni, Moyano, Orlando, Ortega Desio, Petti, Sánchez, Tetaz Chaparro and Zeiss.
Those who played the most (6 games): Alemanno, Boffelli, Creevy, Kremer, Lavanini, Matera, Moroni, Ortega Desio, Petti, Sánchez and Tetaz Chaparro.
So many in favor: 151
So many against: 198
Goal scorer: Nicolás Sánchez: 67 (four tries, four penalties, sixteen conversions and one drop)
Tries in favor: 18: Sánchez (four); Delguy and Boffelli (three); Matera and Moyano (two), Cubelli, González Iglesias, Moroni and Orlando (one).
Tries against: 29
Yellow: There was not.
More minutes on the court: Boffelli (471); Ortega Desio (467); Kremer (459); Moroni (452); Sanchez (429); Petti (423) and Lavanini (401).