Agustín Creevy scored a brace of tries as the Jaguares secured a comfortable 29-11 win over the Bulls in Buenos Aires on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The Bulls were done a favour earlier in the day when the Lions hammered the Sharks, but the Pretoria-based side failed to grab the opportunity to reclaim a wildcard-qualifying position as they meekly succumbed to the physically superior Jaguares.
The Bulls have now lost four out of their last five games, and it certainly seems as if a promising start to their season may all ultimately come to naught as they’ve lost their way during the business end.
With rain pouring down in Buenos Aries from the outset, it was clear early on that the clash would be one resembling trench warfare in Argentina.
Indeed, it would be at the set pieces that the Jaguares gained the upper hand, and after flyhalves Francois Brummer and Nicolás Sánchez traded penalties early on, flanker Pablo Matera barged over to score the opening try in the 14th minute.
A superb lineout drive then enabled Creevy to storm over to score just after the quarter-hour mark, and suddenly the Jaguares found themselves 15-3 to the good. It was a handy lead that they never looked likely to relinquish in far from ideal conditions.
Although Brummer did draw three points back for the Bulls before half-time, the visitors failed to ever really look threatening with ball in hand, and an error-strewn encounter in appalling conditions failed to spark to life.
Sánchez extended the Jaguares lead to 12 points when he slotted a second penalty in the 48th minute, and from there it was always going to be a long way back for the Bulls.
As it was, Creevy essentially sent the hosts into an unassailable lead when he scored from the back of another lineout drive soon after, with the Jaguares reaping plenty of reward from a physical forward effort that the Bulls simply couldn’t contain.
There was clear evidence of the fact that a number of Jaguares players have the benefit of Test experience, while a depleted Bulls side looked to be no match for the abrasive Argentinians.
There was a brief moment of respite when Piet van Zyl did well to burst over and score on the hour mark, but Sánchez maintained a handy buffer when he slotted two more penalties within the next 10 minutes, and from there the hosts closed out a comfortable victory.
Jaguares – Tries: Pablo Matera, Agustín Creevy (2). Conversion: Nicolás Sánchez. Penalties: Sánchez (4).
Bulls – Try: Piet van Zyl. Penalties: Francois Brummer (2).
Jaguares – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Matías Orlando, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.
Bulls – 15 SP Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Jannes Kirsten, 20 Renaldo Bothma, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel.
Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP Images