Uruguay takes last berth in 2015 Rugby World Cup
MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Uruguay took the 20th and last berth in the 2015 Rugby World Cup by beating Russia 36-27 in the last qualifier on Saturday.
Uruguay, which lost the first leg 22-21 in Siberia two weeks ago, overcame a 20-12 deficit early in the second half by scoring three straight tries, and holding on with a one-man advantage for most of the last 14 minutes, including injury time.
The Teros beat the Bears by eight points on aggregate to make their first Rugby World Cup since 2003. They slot into the tournament’s toughest pool, with host England, Australia, Wales and Fiji in a year’s time.
Sunny, calm conditions at Charrua Stadium set the stage for an open game, but the first half was mostly a penalty kick show between the flyhalves, Uruguay’s Felipe Berchesi and Russia’s Yuri Kushnarev.
Just before halftime, at 12-12, Russia scored the first try when Uruguay thought Kushnarev was going to take another shot at goal. Instead, he quick-tapped, caught the hosts asleep, and sent in scrumhalf Aleksandr Ianushkin for a 17-12 lead.
After hitting the post to start the new half, Kushnarev’s fifth penalty made it 20-12.
Then Uruguay suddenly came alive. Center Joaquin Prada finished a brilliant raid down the right, prop Alejo Corral was mauled over from 10 meters out, and scrumhalf Agustin Ormaechea tidied up a mess at the back of the scrum by scampering over. Berchesi converted all three tries to make it 33-20 in the 65th.
Russia winger Denis Simplikevich was sin-binned in the 70th for a dangerous tackle on a leaping Ormaechea. His teammates then scored their second try to reduce the gap to six points, but Berchesi nailed his eighth kick from nine chances in injury time to settle the issue.
Uruguay played in the Rugby World Cup in 1999 and 2003, but fell in the final qualifiers to Portugal in 2007 and Romania in 2011. Lock Rodrigo Capo, who played in the 2003 cup, ran out for his first home game since 2009.
Russia made its World Cup debut in 2011, and still featured two thirds of that squad.
Uruguay 36 (Joaquin Prada, Alejo Corral, Agustin Ormaechea tries; Felipe Berchesi 3 conversions, 5 penalties), Russia 27 (Aleksandr Ianushkin, Vasiliy Artemyev tries; Yuri Kushnarev conversion, 5 penalties). HT: 12-17