The Jaguares thrashed a sorry Sunwolves 52-10 at Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires.
The victory means the Jaguares finish in second on the Super Rugby log, booking a home quarter-final for the first time in the franchise’s nascent history.
Sebastian Cancelliere grabbed a brace, and to be fair; he should have had more but for some poor handling.
Domingo Miotti controlled the game at first receiver, scoring 10 points from the tee, to lead his side to a 42-point bonus-point win.
Gonzalo Quesada’s charges are unstoppable when playing like this.
They have won five on the bounce and nine of their previous 10 Super Rugby matches.
Quesada’s men look impressive.
This demolition job will have leave whoever comes to Argentina feeling queasy.
They controlled every facet of the game, scoring some stunning tries as they routed the shambolic Sunwolves.
His forwards bullied their opposition, while the backs’ pace and intensity, were too much for the Japanese.
The visitors performed harakiri, gifting tries through intercepts and ill-discipline, which led to a yellow card and a penalty try.
Semisi Masirewa’s 37th-minute score made it a four-point game in the first half, but the winger’s yellow card cost his side 12 points, either side of the break.
It could have been worse, but a lucky bounce and poor handling kept the scoreboard from mounting.
They were ragged by now, though, and the Jaguares ripped their heart out.
The Japanese spirit broke, conceding four more tries as the Jaguares brought up the forty-burger, then the half-century.
Los Jaguares continue their excellent recent form with a solid first-half
The Jaguares dominated the first stanza, leading by 11 points after two tries and a penalty try.
The Sunwolves crossed twice themselves, but they were under the pump.
Both teams went to the boot in the opening exchanges searching for territory.
Some ill-discipline by the tourists made their life difficult.
They conceded too many early penalties, which allowed Miotti to keep them under pressure.
The Jaguares’ driving maul was wreaking havoc, and after one maul was stopped illegally, another led to the first try.
The ball was sent wide to Tomas Lezana, who popped to Santiago Carreras to open the scoring in the 11th-minute, beating the cover defenders to the corner.
The home team were flooding the breakdown, winning penalties because the opposition was getting isolated.
The penalties meant that Tony Brown’s men were stuck inside their half, but mostly their 22.
Elementary mistakes continued to hamper the Sunwolves.
Their forwards also lost an early lineout and scrum as the Jaguares asserted their dominance.
The botched lineout almost led to another score, but poor handling from Lezana, gifted possession away.
Brown’s charges, somehow, stayed in the contest and struck after a bit of luck and opportunistic finish by Van Den Heever on the half-hour.
Guido Petti knocked on inside the Sunwolves’ half. Conan O’Donnell picked up a loose and shipped it to Van Den Heever.
The South African-born winger raced forward, put in a chip-kick, chased the bouncing ball and scored.
Hayden Parker, the human metronome, missed a rare kick from the touchline, but the visitors were on the board.
The joy was short-lived
Cancelliere intercepted a wayward pass by Nathan Vella and sped away for his side’s second five-pointer.
The try knocked the wind out of the Japanese, but they did fight back.
A rare attacking set-piece inside the opposition’s 22 ended with another Masirewa score.
The Sunwolves rumbled forward, going left and right before Parker put Shuhei Matsuhashi though a big hole.
The flanker burst towards the whitewash but was tackled short.
Matsuhashi’s offload found Masirewa, who scored his 11th Super Rugby try of the campaign.
Parker, strangely, missed his second kick of the evening.
The Sunwolves were the architects of their own downfall after clawing their way back into the contest.
They conceded a penalty try on the stroke of halftime and Masirewa was sin-binned for his deliberate knockdown, which stopped a certain try.
Jaguares’ pack devastate their opponents, continuing where they left off
The second-half started with a bang.
Los Jaguares won an attacking lineout on the Sunwolves’ 10m. They drove the defenders back into their 22 before Julian Montoya broke to the right-hand side and darted for the chalk.
It was a sensational driving maul.
Miotti almost scored, but the ball beat the flyhalf to the dead-ball line.
A minute later, Montoya thought he had a second after another powerful driving maul, but the hooker dropped the ball over the whitewash.
Vella had departed the field and confusion reigned because the Sunwolves did not have another hooker, and Masirewa was still in the bin.
The visitors needed eight in the scrum, including a front row, which meant a backline player had to leave the field.
The South Americans put their foot down
The visitors were creaking as the game’s third-quarter wound down, then the dam wall burst.
Juan Cruz Mallia dotted down after Petti’s break near halfway.
The lock picked up the ball at the base of a ruck, looked up, saw nobody home and darted down the field and into the 22.
Before being tackled, he played Mallia.
Matias Moroni also got in on the act, scoring in the corner after another linebreak set up the try.
The Sunwolves looking ragged and like they were in the airport lounge, kept leaking points.
Javier Ortega Desio finished off another sweeping attacking move, dotting down for his side’s eighth try.
There was still time for Cancelliere to secure a brace to bring up his side’s fifty.
Final Score: Jaguares 52 (21) Sunwolves 10 (10)
Tries – Carreras, Cancelliere (2), Penalty try, Montoya, Mallia, Moroni, Ortega Desio
Con – Miotti (5)
Tries – Van Den Heever, Masirewa
Cards – Masirewa (Yellow, 41′)
Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2: Juan Pablo Federico
TMO: Marius Jonker
15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando (captain), 12 Santiago Gonzales Iglesias, 11 Santiago Carreras, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Rodrigo Bruni, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Juan Cruz Mallia, 23 Matias Moroni.
15 Semisi Masirewa, 14 Gerhard Van Den Heever, 13 Josh Timu, 12 Timothy Lafaele, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Ben Gunter, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Dan Pryor (captain), 5 Tom Rowe, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Conan O’Donnell, 2 Nathan Vella, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Shogo Miura, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yuya Odo, 20 Ryota Hasegawa, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Takuya Yamasawa, 23 Jason Emery.