Super Rugby

Jaguares hang on for historic victory over Chiefs




The Jaguares claimed a historic 21-16 win over the Chiefs at Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires.

The win earns the Jaguares a first home Super Rugby semi-final, four years after entering the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby tournament.

This was a topsy-turvy clash, each side dominating different facets of the game.

The Chiefs controlled the scrums, but their lineout was a mess, and their handling poor.

They coughed up 18 turnovers, 14 handling mistakes and their hosts made them pay.

Los Jaguares overturned an eight-point second-half deficit, scoring 13 unanswered points in nine minutes, as they clawed their way to a famous win over the Chiefs.

Gonzalo Quesada’s men were immense. They have arrived.

The stage was set for the Jaguares, playing in their second Super Rugby quarter-final, their first at home, and the game got off to a flyer.

Super Rugby Video Highlights, Quarter-Final: Jaguares versus Chiefs, Estadio Jose Amalfitani, Buenos Aires

Pablo Matera’s early try and a Joaquin Diaz Bonilla penalty gave the South Americans an eight-point lead after 22 minutes, but the Kiwis hit back.

Lachlan Boshier scored a few minutes later to get his side on the scoreboard.

Jack Debreczeni’s boot gave the Waikato men a six-point lead, early in the second half as the Chiefs found their rhythm.

Marty McKenzie made it a two-score game with his first touch of the ball, kicking a penalty after Debreczeni left the field with an injury.

A 13-point swing in followed when Matias Moroni dotted down near the posts.

Diaz Bonilla added two penalties and the conversion to make it 21-16 going into the final quarter.

It was a lead they would not squander, booking their ticket to the final four.

The home team started hot, scoring inside the first minute

A mistake by Angus Ta’avao, who knocked on in contact after the Chiefs tried to run the ball out of their 22 from the restart, gifted five points to the Jaguares inside 50 seconds.

Matera crashed over from close range, punishing the prop’s sloppiness.

The home team went close again but some sloppy play at the ruck cost them another five.

Shaun Stevenson went close in the 13th-minute after the Jaguares turned over possession inside their 22, but the winger’s boot touched the chalk before dotted down.

Quesada’s men played the percentages inside their half, kicking everything, running nothing until they crossed the halfway line.

The scrums were a mess as both sides conceded free kicks for pre-engagements.

An 11-phase attack ended with three points after the Chiefs infringed at a ruck.

Diaz Bonilla made no mistake this time, slotting his penalty from 42 metres out to extend his side’s lead, early in the second quarter.

The Jaguares were dominating the scrums and took control at the breakdown, winning two turnovers inside their half in quick succession.

Chiefs strike before the half-hour

The Chiefs attacked through the middle, using their big man to carry, but the Argentines hit them back.

Brad Weber sold an audacious dummy and went straight through the ruck.

The scrumhalf darted into the opposition’s 22, drew the last defender, before putting Boshier away under the posts.

Debreczeni’s kick made it a one-point game.

Another Tyler Ardron handling error gifted the opposition possession, but Brodie Retallick pilfered a penalty at the following breakdown to save his team-mate’s blushes.

A patient 11-phase attack from the Chiefs came to nothing when Pita Gus Sowakula knocked on close to the try line.

Ta’avao broke Mayco Vivas with a powerful scrum, winning the first scrum-penalty for his side.

Debreczeni put his side ahead, four minutes before the break.

Anton Lienert-Brown and Sam Cane’s good work at the ruck after Sebastian Cancelliere’s break from halfway, kept the Argentinians out as the teams went into the shed.

Debreczeni left the field with a groin injury shortly after extending his side’s lead with an early second-half penalty.

Marty McKenzie took over at first receiver and was called into action immediately.

His forwards destroyed their opposition with another powerful scrum, giving McKenzie the opportunity to open up a two-score lead, which he duly did.

The Jaguares steeped up their game, attacking with their big ball carriers before sending the ball wide to Moroni.

The winger found himself alone on the touchline, and he waltzed over to score near the posts to bring his side back into the contest.

Los Jaguares claw their way back into the match

The raucous crowd were cheering soon afterwards when Diaz Bonilla’s second penalty, on 54 minutes, gave their team the lead.

Another penalty, on the hour, extended the Jaguares’ lead to five thanks to the boot of their playmaker.

The Chiefs tried to fight their way back, but the handling errors kept mounting; however, the Chiefs’ scrum continued to dominate.

A third scrum-penalty allowed the visitors to kick to the home team’s 22 and set-up an attack.

But the Chiefs could not find a way past the orange and black wall.

A brutal 15-phase attack was repelled before Sowakula lost the ball for the second time in the match, close to the try line.

A wayward throw led to a penalty for the home team, who decided to go to their lineout because their scrum was being bullied.

Jesse Parete knocked on with less than a minute to play, and the South Americans held out for a famous victory.

Cue pandemonium.

More to follow…

Final Score: Jaguares 21 (8) Chiefs 16 (10)


Tries – Matera, Moroni
Pen – Diaz Bonilla (3)
Con – Diaz Bonilla
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Boshier
Pen – Debreczeni (2), M. McKenzie
Con – Debreczeni
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Nick Briant
Assistant Ref 2: Federico Anselmi
TMO: Santiago Borsani



15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 11 Matias Moroni, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Mayco Vivas.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Tomas Lezana, 20 Francisco Gorrissen, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Santiago Carreras.


15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Atu Moli.

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Mitchell Jacobson, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Alex Nankivell/Ataata Moeakiola.

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