Argentina’s Jaguares put a dent in the Bulls Super Rugby title hopes by beating the Pretoria based franchise 29-11 in Buenos Aires.
The match was played in extreme wet conditions as heavy rain poured for most of the match causing both teams to struggle with their handling.
The victory is the Jaguares third this season from 13 matches played and the Bulls fifth loss from 13 matches.
The result is another away loss for the Bulls who have only won two matches in their last sixteen outside of South Africa.
The Bulls and the Sharks are in a race for the South African Group Wild Card place and after this loss the Bulls could need the Cheetahs or Sunwolves to beat the Sharks if they are to remain in contention.
The Bulls trail the Sharks by three points in the overall standings and failed to take any points from their trip to Argentina.
Jaguares captain Agustin Creevy scored two of his team’s tries from unstoppable driving mauls after line-outs as the hosts adapted much better to the difficult conditions in the round 15 match at rain-lashed Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
Another Argentina star, fly-half, Nicolas Sanchez, kicked four penalties and converted a try by flanker Pablo Matera as the Jaguares achieved a third victory in 13 outings during their maiden season.
After three narrow home defeats by high-profile opponents between March and May, this comfortable success should boost confidence ahead of two more home fixtures.
The Bulls were playing without regular skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss and several injured forwards.
But no one in the small crowd would have guessed the Pretoria outfit were fighting for a knockout place as they lacked commitment until the closing stages, when it was too late.
Fly-half Francois Brummer slotted two penalties from four attempts at goal, but one of his misses was a “sitter”.
Scrum-half Piet van Zyl made a positive impact when he come off the bench and scored the visitors’ lone try by taking a quick tap penalty and wriggling his way past several Jaguares.
His score on 60 minutes trimmed the deficit to 23-11, but failed to ignite a lacklustre Bulls team.
Instead, leading 2015 Rugby World Cup points scorer Sanchez added two more penalties.
Brummer and Sanchez exchanged early penalties before Matera dotted down beside the post after winger Santiago Cordero evaded several tackles.
Sanchez converted for a seven-point lead that stretched to 12 when Creevy, who also skippers the national team, got his first try.
Another Brummer penalty left the South Africans, who were Super Rugby champions in 2007, 2009 and 2010, trailing 15-6 at half-time.
Jaguares camped in the Bulls’ half for the first 20 minutes of the second half and were rewarded with a Sanchez penalty and a Creevy try.
Defeat left the South Africans three points behind the Sharks in the race for the third and final place in the knockout phase from the two African conferences.
They have a tougher run-in than the Sharks, who finish with two home fixtures while the Bulls are away in the final round.
Next week the Bulls return home to Pretoria where they will host the the Sunwolves at Loftus Versfeld while the Jaguares are at home again and will play the Highlanders.
Final Score Jaguares 29 (15) Bulls 11 (6)
Tries – P.Matera, A.Creevy 2
Pen -N.Sanchez 4
Tries – P.Van Zyl.
Pen – F.Brummer 2
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Ref 1:Federico Anselmi (Argentina),
Assistant Ref 2: Juan Sylvestre (Argentina)
TMO : Santiago Borsani (Argentina)
1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Agustín Creevy (cap), 3. Ramiro Herrera; 4. Guido Petti, 5. Tomás Lavanini; 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Juan M. Leguizamón, 8. Facundo Isa; 9. Martín Landajo, 10. Nicolás Sánchez, 11. Manuel Montero, 12. Jerónimo de la Fuente, 13. Matías Moroni, 14. Santiago Cordero; 15. Joaquín Tuculet.
Replacements : 16. Julián Montoya, 17. Santiago García Botta, 18. Enrique Pieretto, 19. Ignacio Larrague, 20. Javier Ortega Desio, 21. Gonzalo Bertranou, 22. Matías Orlando, 23. Lucas González Amorosino.
SP Marais, Travis Ismaiel, Jesse Kriel, Burger Odendaal, Jamba Ulengo, Francois Brummer, Rudy Paige, Arno Botha, Lappies Labuschagne (c), Roelof Smit, Marvin Orie, Jason Jenkins, Marcel van der Merwe, Bandise Maku, Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Pierre Schoeman, Jannes Kirsten, Renaldo Bothma, Piet van Zyl, Tian Schoeman, Dries Swanepoel,Werner Kruger