Los Cóndores come from behind to win 30-29 in Sochi

Chile stun Russia at the death

Losing 17-10 half-time, Chile come from behind to defeat Russia 30-29 in Sochi. An incredible result for a team on the up.

Los Cóndores defeated Canada earlier this year to put themselves in contention for Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification – in doing so they knocked out Canada, meaning the North Americans will miss out on the World Cup for the first time in history. Chile will play the USA in a series in July next year, to decide which of the two qualifies for the event in France.

But in Sochi, they showed real grit.

Russia scored tries through Kirill Golosnitskiy and Konstantin Uzunov. Chile also lost Matías Garafulic to the sin-bin. But despite this, they kept in touch with a score of their own, through fly-half Rodrigo Fernández.

Penalties were clipped over by the Russians and despite another Chilean try, for Raimundo Martínez, the Russians led by nine points with ten minutes to play.

Iñaki Ayarza was worked over, and a wide conversion was dispatched by Santiago Videla. And the full-back was on hand to knock over the winning penalty, in dead time. He opened the scoring with his boot; he finished it. He was 100% accurate from the tee.

Ambitious Chile are coached by Pablo Lemoine, who led Uruguay to Rugby World Cup 2015. In a column for this month’s issue of Rugby World, Lemoine wrote: “I have huge faith that we’ll make it through (to the World Cup) as we have nine months to work on the goal. We’re hungrier than anyone. We put things on standby – I personally left my family in Montevideo, leaving home for many weeks – but I’m convinced that things can happen. The team is convinced and the rugby community is now also convinced.

“I had a sense of déjà vu in the series against Canada from when I qualified with Uruguay to Rugby World Cup 2015 and those good, positive feelings are the reason why we put so much into these huge challenges. I really hope all this ends with Chile in France 2023.”

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