Pumas feast on Chile

Flyhhalf Nicolas Sanchez scored 20 points as Argentina beat Chile on Saturday to remain in contention for a place in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Argentina scored eight tries in Nantes to claim a 59-5 victory over Chile.

Sanchez, 34, celebrated his 100th Test with a perfect goal-kicking display and a try to set up a winner-takes-all fixture with Japan next Sunday back at this Stade de la Beaujoire.

Whoever claims victory will join England from Pool D in the last eight, where they will in all likelihood play Wales or Fiji.

Chile lost their fourth game in 20 days at their first World Cup conceding 215 points during the campaign.

Argentina head coach Michael Cheika made 11 changes from last Friday’s crucial win over Samoa to face the lowest-ranked side in the competition, as Sanchez joined hooker Agustin Creevy as the only Puma to reach the landmark.

There was a fervent atmosphere at the sun-kissed Stade de la Beaujoire, filled with South Americans from both sides of the Andes, for a first game between two countries from the continent at a World Cup.

Argentina controlled the game thanks to their dominant carries and led 10-0 after a quarter of an hour.

Sanchez contributed his superb solo try, beating three defenders, before slotting the touchline conversion and a penalty.

Cheika’s side were in control and stretched their advantage to 24-0 after 25 minutes as flanker Juan Martin Gonzalez and 38-year-old Creevy benefited from rolling mauls to score against opponents they first faced in 1936 in Chile’s first Test match.

Some positives for Pablo Lemoine’s side came from No. 8 Raimundo Martinez’s defence and full-back Inaki Ayarza’s last-ditch tackle to stop Facundo Isa from crossing but their tiredness showed.

Argentina dominated until half-time and claimed a bonus point by the 45th minute as full-back Martin Bogado slalomed his way over on just his third Test.

Chile had fallen away badly in their three opening games at the World Cup and the final quarter of an hour in Brittany was also costly thanks to tries from full-back Rodrigo Isgro and Gonzalez with his second of the proceedings.

Sanchez’s extras from Isgro’s touchdown took him past Gonzalo Quesada as Argentina’s top points scorer in World Cup history before the player of the match was given a standing ovation when substituted.

A deserved consolation came for Chile as they found same late energy with eight minutes remaining as replacement hooker Tomas Dussaillant scored from a rolling maul, sending their fans in the stands into a frenzy.

Los Pumas crossed the 50-point mark in the closing two minutes as Ignacio Ruiz and Sanchez’s stand-in Santiago Carreras scored, with Cheika's mind already on the match against Japan in eight days’ time.

© Agence France-Presse

Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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