While Brazil's women maintained their perfect record in regional competition, Uruguay's men scored a huge upset by winning their first CONSUR rugby title, beating Argentina in the final 17-14 with a try on the siren.
With Christ the Redeemer, one of the outstanding features in the marvelous city of Rio de Janeiro, looking over their shoulder, Los Pumas lost their first ever South American Championship and only their second match ever at this level.
With half their team graduating from IRB Junior tournaments - either the Junior World Championship or the Junior World Rugby Trophy - Los Teros of Uruguay enjoyed big wins on Saturday (60-0 against Ecuador, 64-0 against Venezuela, 19-0 win against Paraguay) and topped the group with a 10-10 draw against hosts Brazil, who had also begun with three wins.
They then narrowly beat Chile 14-7 in the first semi final, while Argentina ran out 36-0 winners against Paraguay to claim their perennial finalist spot.
The tense final went to the wire. Argentina held a 14-5 lead but the Uruguayans battled themselves back into the game and seconds away from full time the Pumas lost the ball from the restart and a huge gap opened for sprinter Gastón Mieres to run 50 meters unopposed to give his nation an unexpected but much celebrated 17-14 win.
The victory will be a huge morale boost for Los Teros, who now travel to Hong Kong, where they will be competing with 11 other regional hopefuls for three additional 'core team' places on the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
This win is very important for us as it is the first time we've been able to beat Argentina and win a South American Championship, said coach Luis Pedro Achard. We have worked very hard in the build-up to Hong Kong and we go with the confidence levels very high, hoping that we can have a good tournament and get one of those three places.
Former Argentina Sevens and fifteens coach Ricardo Paganini handed the trophy to Uruguayan captain Germán Albanell. Despite his national allegiances, as CONSUR President and IRB Council Member, he was delighted with the growth in the region: This was a very well run and played tournament. We've seen teams, both men and women, show progress and that are a good showcase for the strength of rugby in our region. (IRB).