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Jaguares hang on for famous victory over Blues

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The Jaguares won a famous and hard-fought 23-19 victory over the Blues at Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires.

Joaquin Diaz Bonilla and Matias Orlando pulled the strings at first and second receiver. Ramiro Moyano registered a fantastic double either side of the break to break the Kiwis’ resolve.

However, the pack deserves credit for the way the game was won.

With the hooter already sounded, the Jaguares gave away a scrum-penalty for collapsing, on their five-metre line next to the posts.


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The Blues celebrated, but the home team’s front row buckled down and won their second, and most important tighthead of the game to seal an unlikely victory.

They have cleaned up their ill-discipline and got their lineout functioning at an elite level, causing the Blues trouble at every set-piece.

Otere Black kicked four penalties, but despite more than 65 per cent possession and territory throughout the game, the New Zealanders could not shake the Argentinians.

The Auckland team were one of six sides to maintain a 100% scum success rate this season, but two tightheads, both proving costly for the visitors.

They have now lost their last four away Super Rugby matches, while the victory is the fifth in six home games in Buenos Aires for the South Americans.

Blues have the better of the opening 40 minutes

Leon MacDonald would have been happy with his side’s dominance of the stats’ sheet but concerned that his team were yet again blunt in attack.

They may have scored three tries against the Crusaders in Round One but they lost. They scored once against the Sharks, but only after the game was gone and the South Africans took their foot off the gas.

In Buenos Aires, the Blues enjoyed total dominance in every facet of the game except at set-pieces and the scoreboard.

MacDonald’s men had 66% possession and 71% territory which never dropped below 50% from kickoff.

They forced the hosts to make 173 tackles to 99 as the home team kicked away the ball.

But the Blues lost two important scrums that decided the game and one lineout; however, their lineout was shaky throughout the game.

Diaz Bonilla and Black traded five penalties before Moyano scored in the 33rd minute. It came when the visitors switched after conceding a penalty on the halfway line.

Before that, the Blues had gone a mammoth 23 phases before Tomas Lavanini’s off-the-ball shoulder tackle on Tom Robinson saw the lock spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin.

Black had missed and slotted another penalty to give the Auckland team a 6-9 lead.

The Argentinian flyhalf, instead of kicking to the corner, took a quick tap. The Blues were all napping, not looking at the No 10 but standing around talking and not paying attention.

Diaz Bonilla made them pay. The standoff shaped to kick to touch but sent the ball wide where Matias Moroni put in a grubber, which Bautista Delguy kicked back infield.

Augustine Pulu saved the day, but the recycled ball was kicked by Tanielu Tele’a straight back to the opposition.

Another attack ensued when the winger beat four defenders to score in the corner and give his team an unlikely lead.

The conversion was missed but the hosts had a slender advantage going into the shed.

More of the same as Jaguares toil, but reap rewards

Nothing changed after the break. The Blues dominated possession and territory, getting more of both, but they could not find their way over the whitewash.

The Blues had made 256 metres and conceded four penalties to six while their hosts had made a mere 150 metres, most from the crazy Moyano try at the end of the first half.

Auckland thought they had a try but after much deliberation and replays, the TMO found the angle to show that the ball was held up. It wasn’t the last time the Jaguares would need some big defence.

Black put his side back in front with his fourth penalty. His counter-part missed his attempt, minutes later.

The aim of the game had been to take the points when offered and nothing had changed.

The Blues messed up a glorious opportunity by being caught with an accidental offside involving Akira Ioane and Karl Tu’inukuafe.

Then it was time for some more Orlando Magic. The centre got on the outside of TJ Faiane, beat two more defenders; however, he killed the attack with a wayward kick.

The Jaguares, by now, had made 93 tackles to 72, and have had less possession (34%) and territory (28%) than the first 40 minutes. It was dogged defending and stodgy attacking.

With 15 minutes remaining, Harry Plummer, who had joined Black at the second receiver, took a hit.

The ball went wide before being turned over. The Jaguares, poachers to the end, went blind to Moyano.

The 28-year-old flyer cuts inside two defenders and raced away for his second try of the game. It was glorious.

Tomas Cubelli broke blind and offloaded to Moyano. He beat Plummer and Dalton Papali’i before racing away from Matt Moulds and Black for his second.

Blues’ set-piece goes to pieces

The 67th-minute was important for many reasons. It foreshadowed the denouement, and it set-up the next crazy series of play. The Blues front row coughed up a tighthead and penalty for hands in the scrum.

The Jaguares charged 70 metres up the field after the tighthead and score through replacement hooker Montoya.

TMO Santiago Borsani was called to check for a foot in touch but he told referee Rasta Rasivhenge that he had no images because there is no footage of the replay.

Rasivhenge kept his cool, telling Borsani to take his time to make the call. The South African waited before awarding the score because of his on-field decision of “try!”

It was a sucker punch. As good as the Jaguares were in counter-attacking, they were reckless in possession, knocking on to give the Blues a sniff when Papali’i and ran away to give his side hope.

Terrific defending by the Jaguares gave them a scrum in the dying seconds. What happened next is madness. The scrum was reset before collapsing.

A penalty was awarded and the visitors opted for another scrum because their lineout was creaking.

Hope turned to ash in their mouths as the South American front row redeemed themselves with a massive scrum, winning another against the put-in.

Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias cleared to the delight of his teammates and the crown. The New Zealanders were stunned.

Final Score: Jaguares 23 (11) Blues 19 (9)

Scorers

Jaguares
Tries – Moyano (2) Montoya
Pen – Diaz Bonilla (2)
Con – Diaz Bonilla
Drop –
Cards – Lavanini (Yellow, 32′)

Blues
Tries – Papali’i
Pen – Black (4)
Con – Black
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Santiago Borsani

Teams

Jaguares: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando (captain), 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Mayco Vivas.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Enrique Pieretto Heilan, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Tanielu Tele’a, 13 Thomas Faiane, 12 Ma’a Nonu, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Otere Black, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papali’i, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Joshua Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Alex Hodgman.

Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Harry Plummer, 23 Sonny Bill Williams.

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