The Jaguares scored seven tries to defeat the Bulls 54-24 in Buenos Aires on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The likelihood of the Jaguares finishing second in the South African conference increases by the week, as they just pick off victory after victory. With this bonus-point win, the Argentinians move a point ahead of the Sharks, who are third in the conference, and seven points behind the conference-leading Lions.
The Jaguares came into this game having pocketed four straight wins on their tour of Australasia, while the Bulls had two wins and two defeats over the same period. And the Test-laden hosts produced another polished performance to oust the inconsistent South Africans.
An injury to Bulls captain Burger Odendaal forced a backline reshuffle, with Handré Pollard moving to inside centre and Manie Libbok filling in at flyhalf. It was a huge risk to take and unfortunately for the Bulls one that backfired as Libbok failed to make any real impact on the game.
His opposite number, Sánchez, on the other hand was in a class of his own on the night. He was successful with eight from 10 attempts off the kicking tee and scored the opening try for a personal haul of 24 points.
Although the first half wasn’t filled with any eye-catching attacking plays, the Jaguares showed wonderful composure to build a score in a closely contested opening stanza. The second half was a different story altogether, as they simply blew the Bulls off the park with their trademark running game.
Sánchez gave his side a 13-7 lead with a self-converted try and two penalties. And while Pollard cut the deficit to three with a penalty, a try on the stroke of half-time by Bautista Delguy put the Jaguares ahead 20-10.
It was carnage in the second half as the Jaguares displayed their full array of skills. The Bulls, unable to handle the pace and precision of the hosts’ offloading game, were reduced to bystanders.
The hosts scored 22 unanswered points, including three tries, to take the game away from the Bulls. However, they lost their discipline a little towards the end as the Bulls hit back with tries by Nic de Jager and Andre Warner.
But any chance of the visitors fighting back to deny the Jaguares a try-scoring bonus point was quashed when Sebastian Cancelliere and Emilliano Boffelli dotted down to make sure the hosts finished with a flourish.
Jaguares – Tries: Nicolás Sánchez, Bautista Delguy (2), Marcos Kremer, Matias Orlando, Sebastian Cancelliere, Emilliano Boffelli. Conversions: Sánchez (5). Penalties: Sánchez (3).
Bulls – Tries: Warrick Gelant, Nic de Jager, André Warner. Conversions: Handré Pollard, Libbok (2). Penalty: Handré Pollard.
Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Subs: 16 Julian Montoya , 17 Javier Manuel Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia.
Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Handré Pollard (c), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Mox Mxoli, 19 Hendré Stassen, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 André Warner, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Divan Rossouw.
Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP/Getty Images