Damian McKenzie contributed 20 points as the Chiefs fought their way to a 30-27 win against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
In a dramatic end to the game, a converted try by Matias Orlando saw the Jaguares hit the front in the 73rd minute. But the Chiefs bashed away at the line in the dying moments and eventually the Jaguares’ defence caved, allowing Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi to dot down in the corner.
Chiefs coach Colin Cooper will be thrilled that his team managed to back up last week’s emphatic performance against the Bulls with a gutsy display against the Jaguares to make it back-to-back wins away from home.
It started out as a fairly equal contest, but the Jaguares pushed ahead by three thanks to Joaquin Diaz Bonilla’s two penalty strikes either side of a McKenzie penalty.
The Jaguares’ defence struggled to keep up with the pace the Chiefs injected into the game. And soon the Chiefs powered into a 17-6 lead. First McKenzie exploited a gap in the line to go in untouched. Then Tumua Manu scored after Marty McKenzie’s kick over the top ricocheted back off the posts and bounced kindly into his hands.
When McKenzie extended that advantage with another penalty, it looked like the Jaguares were dead and buried. Their discipline was non-existent and defence looked shot, especially when Guido Petti was yellow-carded for foul play. But somehow the hosts found it within themselves to move up a gear.
Joaquin Tuculet and Pablo Matera crashed over and Bonilla added both conversions to level matters at 20-20. The Chiefs momentarily pushed ahead again when McKenzie slotted another penalty, but the Jaguares were playing with renewed confidence and started to run the ball from all over the field.
After hooker Julian Montoya beat everyone to the ball on the ground to make a brilliant steal, they pushed holes in the Chiefs’ line and when they entered the 22, replacement flyhalf Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias opted for a cross-kick to the right. Wing Emiliano Boffelli leapt high and tapped the ball backwards to Matias Orlando, who scored.
Going behind sparked the Chiefs into action. They attacked through the middle to go close, but a lofted pass from Marty McKenzie was intercepted on the tryline. The Jaguares shaped to clear through the boot of Iglesias, but his kick was charged down and rolled over the deadball line. This gave the Chiefs an attacking scrum on the 5m line, from which they went to the short side where Toiroa Tahuriorangi took a pop pass around the back of the last to defender to dot down.
For good measure, McKenzie nailed the touchline conversion to maintain his flawless kicking display.
Jaguares – Tries Joaquin Tuculet, Pablo Matera, Matias Orlando. Conversions: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla (2), Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias. Penalties: Bonilla (2).
Chiefs – Tries: Damian McKenzie, Tumua Manu, Toiroa Tahuriorangi. Conversions: McKenzie (3). Penalties: McKenzie (3).
Jaguares – 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Subs: 16 Gaspar Baldunciel, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Pablo Matera, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Matias Orlando.
Chiefs – 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice (c), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Subs: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Taleni Seu, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Alex Nankivell, 23 Etene Nanai-Seturo.
Photo: Daniel Jayo/Getty Images