There is everything still to play for in South America’s WXV playoff, with Colombia taking a single point lead into the second leg after a remarkable Brazilian comeback.
The first of two games between Colombia and Brazil took place in Medellín on Wednesday, with the Colombians beating the Brazilians by 24-23. The second game will also be at the same venue on Sunday.
Since Colombia’s 28-7 win in the first test between the two teams in 2019 every game has ended with a narrower and narrower Colombian win. Now things cannot be closer.
As the continent’s only two test-playing teams Brazil and Colombia are playing off over two games, in Medellín (Colombia), for the South American place in WXV in October.
The game started out well for the Brazilians, who had more of the ball in the opening minutes and opened the scoring with a penalty kicked by Lohana.
However, the Colombians quickly responded and punished the Brazilian mistakes with two tries in a row. The first with Álvarez, after breaking the Brazilian defensive line and offloading to Ramirez. The second came with the strength of the home team's forwards, with Gutierrez scoring with the pick and go.
The situation seemed to get worse for the Yaras with a yellow card for Pipoca. However, even with only 14 players on the field for 10 minutes, Brazil was able to score through Edninha to put the Brazilians back in the running.
Colombia added a penalty by Arzuaga and indiscipline proved to be a problem in the second half with another yellow card against the Brazilians, this time for Milena. The third Colombian try came before the break, again with Álvarez crossing the in-goal on the pick and go..
At halftime Colombia lead 21-8.
It was a different story in the second half and Brazil started with a try from prop Taís, running over the Colombian defence in a move very well organised by veteran sevens player Luiza, the replacement scrum-half, who had just come on the field.
The Tucanas added another accurate penalty by Arzuaga, who was 100% in the game on kicks, but the yellow card for Cuartas for Colombian put them on the defensive. The Yaras began to dominate the game territorially, dominating possession until the end. Brazil had plenty of chances to score, but only in the 65th minute did they change the scoreboard with a penalty by Lohana.
Packed at the end, the Yaras took advantage of another Colombian yellow (Sarmiento) to flirt with victory. In the 75th minute, running through the phases inside the Colombian 22was rewarded with Bodeman kicking into the in-goal for Lohana's dive, to take Brazil within a point. However, the last conversion was missed, giving the victory to the Colombians but great confidence to Brazil that a victory on Sunday is fully possible.
“It was a very tough match with opportunities for both sides. Colombia was more precise and now we are going to work to seek victory on Sunday”, commented Íris Coluna, one of the captains of Brazil.
Game 1 – 7/5 –🇨🇴 Colombia 24 x 23 Brazil🇧🇷
Referee: 🇦🇷Federico Solari | Assistants: 🇦🇷Federico Longobardi and🇦🇷 Nicolás Cotic
Venue: Cincuentenario Stadium – 🇨🇴Medellin
Tries: Edna, Taís and Lohana
Conversions: Lohana (1)
Penalties: Lohana (2)
15 Patrícia Bodeman, 14 Lohana Valente, 13 Edna Santini, 12 Amanda Araújo, 11 Ana Júlia Dias, 10 Marina “Tchoba” Fioravanti, 9 Aline Mayumi, 8 Íris Coluna (c), 7 Letícia Medeiros, 6 Milena Mariano, 5 Grasiele Bomfim , 4 Ana Carolina Santana, 3 Patrícia “Pipoca” Lima, 2 Tainá “Tatá” Amorim, 1 Taís Gomes;
Replacements : 16 Júlia Leni, 17 Carolina Palazzini, 18 Franciele Barros, 19 Natália Momberg, 20 Eshyllen Coimbra, 21 Luiza Campos, 22 Paula Sarmento, 23 Ariely Faria;
Coach : AK Southey
Tries: Alvarez (2) and Gutierrez
Conversions: Arzuaga (3)
Penalties: Arzuaga (1)
15 Laura Diosa, 14 Leydi Garcia, 13 Luisa Zurique, 12 Leidy Soto, 11 Maria Arzuaga, 10 Camila Lopera, 9 Andrea Ramirez, 8 Valentina Alvarez, 7 Angela Alzate, 6 Valeria Cuartas, 5 Paola Delgado, 4 Laura Aguilar, 3 Carolina Naranjo, 2 Silvia Olave, 1 Natalia Barajas;
Replacements: 16 Tatiana Delgado, 17 Natalia Caisedo, 18 Camila Cardona, 19 Sara Velez, 20 Tatiana Hernandez, 21 Estefania Sarmiento, 22 Isabel Ramirez, 23 Valentina Tapias;
Trainer : Lissette Martinez