Domingo Miotti scored two late tries as the Jaguares snatched a 22-20 win over the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The Bulls came into this clash without the services of key personnel such as Handré Pollard, Jesse Kriel, Warrick Gelant and Schalk Brits, which was always likely to make this a tricky game to call, especially considering that the Jaguares had emerged as comfortable winners when the sides first met back in round two.
In that context, the Bulls will be absolutely gutted to have lost this game from what looked to be a position of absolute control.
The Pretoria-based side, in fact, comfortably led 20-10 heading into the final 10 minutes, but then their discipline let them down as two players were yellow-carded, while young Miotti struck twice to suddenly send the Jaguares into the lead almost out of nowhere.
Understandably, the Bulls were left looking shell-shocked, and simply couldn’t find a way to work their way back into a position to score, with the Jaguares left to celebrate a win that can only be seen as a real burgle at Loftus.
#SuperRugby – RESULT:
Bulls 20-22 Jaguares
The Jaguares staged an impressive second half comeback to pick up their first ever victory at Loftus. pic.twitter.com/ikS1dJWgV7
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) April 6, 2019
On Friday night, the Sharks had claimed an emphatic bonus-point win over the Lions to once again shake up the competitive South African conference, with that result seeing the Durban-based side move three points clear at the top of the local standings.
With this in mind, the Bulls would have been determined to respond with a compelling performance of their own, and they made a steady enough start when Manie Libbok slotted three penalties to open up a handy 9-0 lead within the opening 25 minutes.
However, the Jaguares’ importantly struck back when Pablo Matera exposed a hole in the Bulls’ defence to finish off a timely try in a first half in which the Argentinian side had enjoyed just 37% of possession.
Considering the Bulls’ general dominance in the first half, and that they also saw Libbok lose the ball with the tryline at his mercy, they would have been particularly disappointed to lead by just two points at the break.
Yet the Bulls would make the perfect start to the second half when Jade Stighling finished off a well-worked try just minutes after the restart, and the Jaguares then lost Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle.
As they have done so many times this season, the Bulls aimed to simply continue applying scoreboard pressure, with Libbok knocking over two more penalties to help them establish a 10-point buffer heading into the final quarter.
Despite this position of ascendancy, the dramatic final stages saw the Jaguares complete a remarkable comeback to deny the 13-man Bulls.
Bulls – Try: Jade Stighling. Conversion: Penalties: Manie Libbok (5).
Jaguares – Tries: Pablo Matera, Domingo Miotti (2). Conversions: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Miotti. Penalty: Iglesias.
Bulls – 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Johnny Kotzé, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hanro Liebenberg, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Corniel Els, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Simphiwe Matanzima, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembelani Bholi, 20 Tim Agaba, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 JT Jackson, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente (c), 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images