Russia beats Uruguay 22-21 in Rugby WCup qualifier
KRASNOYARSK, Russia (AP) — Russia barely held off Uruguay 22-21 in the fight for the last 2015 Rugby World Cup berth, with the winner unhappy and the loser satisfied on Saturday.
After enduring near-freezing conditions in Siberia, Uruguay was happy to take a one-point deficit home for what should be a much warmer second leg before far more backing in Montevideo on Oct. 11.
The winner will join World Cup host England, Australia, Wales and Fiji in Pool A in a year.
Uruguay could even have won the first leg in the dying moments, as flyhalf Felipe Berchesi, who nailed seven penalties, shaved the outside of the post with his last shot from 35 meters.
Uruguay bossed the set-pieces and maul, but Russia’s backline was the more inventive, and the hosts scored the only try; prop Grigory Tsobiladze crashing over after a break into the 22 by center Dmitri Gerasimov, to lead 16-12 at the break. Russia’s discipline fell apart in the second half, conceding two yellow cards and a welter of penalties which allowed Uruguay to almost overtake the Bears.
Russia made its World Cup debut in 2011, while Uruguay qualified for the 1999 and 2003 tournaments.
Russia 22 (Grigory Tsobiladze try; Yuri Kushnarev conversion, 5 penalties), Uruguay 21 (Felipe Berchesi 7 penalties). HT: 16-12