The Force scored two late tries to defeat the Jaguares 16-6 in Buenos Aires on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
In near perfect playing conditions, both teams created ample scoring opportunities, but will lament their poor execution and high error rate. It took until the last 11 minutes before a try was finally scored, with Force duo Alex Newsome and Isi Naisarani dotting down in quick succession.
It was a real dogfight, with both teams disappointing in open play. And yet, despite the shortfall of action, the Force held their own in the scrums and lineouts and managed to successfully disrupt the hosts at the breakdown.
With half-time approaching, the scores were still deadlocked, as neither team could breach the opposition’s defence. But the visitors hit the front with a 36th-minute penalty by Ian Prior. Joaquín Tuculet made a searing break down the left flank on the stroke of half-time, but a miraculous cover tackle denied him what looked like a sure try. The failure to get on the board didn’t sit well with the hosts and a massive brawl broke out. It continued down into the tunnel after the referee had ended the first half.
The Force thought they had scored the opening try 30 seconds after the restart, but after a lengthy consultation with the TMO, the referee ruled there was an obstruction in the lead-up.
Juan Martín Hernández missed the resulting penalty from straight in front, but found his radar and slotted two kicks either side of another three-pointer from Prior to draw level at six apiece.
The Force started to hold the ball for longer periods and it paid off against the disjointed Jaguares defence. Newsome rounded off a wonderful team effort, in which fullback Peter Grant featured prominently, and moments later Naisarani showed great body strength as he made his way over the line for the second to seal a deserved win for the Force.
The Jaguares will be disappointed as they suffered only their second loss at home this season and failed to collect a losing bonus point.
Jaguares – Penalties: Juan Martín Hernández (2).
Force – Tries: Alex Newsome, Isi Naisarani. Penalties: Ian Prior (2).
Jaguares – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Batista Ezcurra, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Benjamin Macome, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Subs: 16 Julían Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Felipe Arregui, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Manuel Montero.
Force – 15 Peter Grant, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Onehunga Havili, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann (c), 1 Francois van Wyk.
Subs: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Isireli Naisarani, 22 Mitchell Short, 23 James Verity-Amm.
Photo: Alejandro Pagni/Getty Images