Argentina break Hong Kong hearts to make last eight

U20 rugby Argentina

Final qualification spot for Rio 2016 up for grabs at #Dublin7s

Having started the day as 16 teams, just eight still remain in contention for the final qualifying spot in Rio 2016 with favourites Spain, Russia and Ireland as well as an impressive-looking Kazakhstan remaining unbeaten as they go into the Championship Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.

But it was Argentina who got the sizable crowd at UCD Bowl in Dublin out of their seats as they made it into the last eight of the competition with a thrilling, last-second score that broke the hearts of a more-fancied Hong Kong side. Trailing by five points to Anna Richards’ team and with the final buzzer already having sounded, Argentina began an attack deep in their own 22 and finished with Isabel Fontanarrosa making an astonishing break down the left wing to score in the corner. While a draw would have been enough for the South Americans, Lettitzia Alcaraz’s conversion dramatically hit the cross-bar and went over  to seal victory.

The line-up for Sunday’s Championship Cup quarter-finals is:

Russia v Argentina
Ireland v Tunisia
Kazakhstan v Samoa
Spain v China

Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall was pleased with her side’s performances on day one but knows that their biggest test awaits tomorrow. 

She said: “Three wins today and that’s what we came out for so we’re happy with that but we move on to tomorrow where we’re hoping for another good day. We know Tunisia are good so we’ll need to be at our best tomorrow for that but we are here to go all the way and qualify for Rio. It would be a huge step forward for us, for Irish rugby as a whole. It would be a dream come true.”

With just one qualification place available, the winner tomorrow will take their place in Rio 2016 and complete the line-up of both competitions as Spain’s men qualified from their repechage in Monaco last week. Rio will be an historic occasion as rugby returns to the Olympic programme for the first time since 1924.