The Jaguares earned their fourth victory of the Super Rugby season by beating the Lions 34-22 at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires
The Lions failed to earn a bonus point from the match and missed the opportunity to finish the season on top of the Super Rugby standings.
The Hurricanes remain on top of the Super Rugby standings and the Lions finish the regular season in second place.
Johannesburg’s Lions took a “B” team to Argentina in order to rest their stars for the quarter finals next weekend but the tactic has cost them a potential home final.
The Lions led the Jaguares for the first 50 minutes of the match but their scrum started to struggle and their discipline slipped. As the match progressed and the Lions brought on their replacements the Jaguares edged further and further ahead.
The Lions also had to play for 15 minutes with 14 players while Cyle Brink and later Lourens Erasmus were sin-binned.
Both teams scored three tries each but the Jaguares had three tries ruled out by the Television Match Official.
The Lions must now prepare for a long, depressing flight home across the Atlantic Ocean while the Jaguares celebrate the most impressive of four victories in a 15-match debut season.
“It was a tough match and the Lions enjoyed a good first half,” admitted Jaguares skipper and scrum-half Martin Landajo, standing in for injured hooker Agustin Creevy.
“But in the second half we were very good and deserved our second victory in three weeks over a South African side.
“This is a wonderful climax to the season for our supporters. I am so happy that we produced such a fine performance in front of them.”
Lions skipper and scrum-half Ross Cronje conceded that the superior side won on a bitterly cold night at Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
“The Jaguares played for 80 minutes, but we faded after half-time and conceded far too many penalties.
“Our discipline slipped under severe pressure during the second half, resulting in two forwards (Cyle Brink and Lourens Erasmus) being sin-binned.
“We want to get home and start doing our homework on the Crusaders, who beat us in Johannesburg this season.”
Number eight Facundo Isa was outstanding in an Argentine pack that held their own in the opening half and took charge after the break, especially when numerically advantaged.
Fears that the absence of inspirational leader Creevy and fellow casualty, flanker Pablo Matera, would have a negative impact proved unfounded.
Lions won the first-half try contest 2-0 and when giant winger Anthony Volmink scored his second two minutes into the second half for a 22-12 lead, it seemed the reserve-team gamble might pay off.
But the South Africans did not score again while the Argentines claimed 22 points, including tries from Isa and substitute lock Matias Alemanno plus a penalty try.
The other 19 points came from fly-half Nicolas Sanchez, who slotted two conversions and five penalties from nine shots at goal.
Volmink (2) and full-back Sylvian Mahuza scored tries for the Lions with fly-half Jaco van der Walt converting two and kicking one penalty.
Next week the Lions will host the Crusaders in Johannesburg in a rematch of the sixth round contest which was won 37-43 by the Crusaders.
The Jaguares finish the season with four wins from their fifteen matches this season.
Final Score Jaguares 34 (12) Lions 22 (15)
Tries -F. Isa, Penalty Try, M.Alemanno
Pen – N.Sanchez 5
Con – N.Sanchez 2
Tries – A.Volmink 2, S.Mahuza
Pen – J. van der Walt
Con – J. van der Walt
Cards – C.Brink (53rd min yellow), L Erasmus (75th min yellow)
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant Ref 1:Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 2:Federico Anselmi
TMO : Santiago Borsani
1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2. Julian Montoya, 3. Ramiro Herrera; 4.Guido Petty, 5. Tomás Lavanini; 6.Javier Ortega Desio 7. Juan M. Leguizamón, 8. Facundo Isa; 9. Martín Landajo, 10. Nicolás Sánchez, 11. Manuel Montero, 12. J Juan Martin Hernandez , 13.Jerónimo de la Fuente , 14. Santiago Cordero; 15. Joaquín Tuculet.
Replacements : 16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Santiago García Botta, 18. Enrique Pieretto, 19. Mattias Alemanno, 20.Marcos Kremer , 21. Gonzalo Bertranou, 22.Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23.Mattias Orlando
15 Sylvian Mahuza , 14 Koch Marx , 13 Stokkies Hanekom , 12 Howard Mnisi , 11 Anthony Volmink , 10 Jaco van der Walt , 9 Ross Cronjé (c) , 8 Cyle Brink , 7 Robert Kruger , 6 Stef de Witt , 5 Lourens Erasmus , 4 Martin Muller , 3 Jacques van Rooyen , 2 Akker van der Merwe , 1 Corné Fourie
Replacements : 16 Ramone Samuels , 17 Clinton Theron , 18 Pieter Scholtz , 19 Fabian Booysen , 20 Ruaan Lerm , 21 Dillon Smit , 22 Jacques Nel , 23 Shaun Reynolds , 24 Bobby de Wee , 25 Ashlon Davids