With three of the 20 teams involved at Rugby World Cup 2019 taking part and Argentina's fringe players looking to push their case for selection for Los Pumas, the significance of this year's World Rugby Nations Cup was not lost on the participants as play got underway at the Estadio Charrua in Montevideo on Tuesday.
Judging by their impressive 48-26 win over Russia, Uruguay's preparations appear to be going well, while uncapped Argentina XV winger Facundo Cordero staked a claim to be a Rugby World Cup 'bolter' with a brace of tries in his side's 39-25 win over Namibia.
The round-robin tournament continues on Sunday with Uruguay's encounter with Namibia immediately following on from the match between Argentina XV and Russia.
ARGENTINA XV 39-25 NAMIBIA
Having already won the Americas Rugby Championship and Sudamerica Rugby Championship this year, Argentina XV began their bid for a hat-trick of titles on a winning note but they were made to work hard for the points by Namibia.
Argentina XV were below their best in the first half and the scores were tied at 12-12.
After Namibia took a 17th-minute lead through Obert Nortje's try, Argentina XV struck back 10 minutes later when winger Manuel Montero crossed the line. Montero's opposite number, Oderich Mouton restored Namibia's advantage and this time Cliven Loubser was able to add the extras having missed his first attempt at goal.
The award of a penalty try, following prolonged scrum pressure from the Argentinian pack, meant the sides went into the break all-square but with Argentina XV holding a one-man advantage due to a yellow card to Namibian prop Aranos Coetzee.
Despite being short-handed, the Welwitschias went in front for the third time in the match when RWC 2015 winger JC Greyling scored within a minute of the restart but Argentina XV found a quick response through flanker Nicolás Sbrocco. With both tries being converted, the score stood at 19-19 with over half an hour left to play.
A brace of tries from Facundo Cordero, either side of an exchange of penalties between Teo Castiglioni and Loubser, took the game beyond Namibia and ultimately proved the difference between the sides.
URUGUAY 48-26 RUSSIA
Hooker Evgeny Matveev's hat-trick was in vain as Russia came off second-best to a clinical Uruguayan outfit that was always in control of the match and the scoreboard.
Right from the first whistle, Uruguay served notice of their intent, hooker German Kessler going over from a maul with barely a minute gone. While Matveev replied in kind on two occasions, Los Teros had a healthy 29-17 lead at the break thanks to a brace of tries from experienced outside centre Nicolas Freitas and one from captain Juan Manuel Gaminara. Federico Favaro converted three of the tries and added a penalty.
After a scoreless 15 minutes at the start of the second half, Uruguay scored their fifth try when Andrés Vileseca picked off a loose pass and set flanker Santiago Civetta up for an easy run to the line.
Matveev's hat-trick score on the hour mark was then followed two minutes later by a try for winger Kirill Golosnitskiy and with replacement Raisin Gaisin adding the extras on both occasions, Russia found themselves back in with a sniff of victory.
Diego Magno's 71st-minute try killed off any such hopes, though, and there was still time for fellow replacement, Juan Echeverria Rodriguez to round of an impressive display with Los Teros' seventh try.