The Jaguares seized control of the South African conference with a hard-fought 23-15 win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
Who would have thought that with three rounds of regular season fixtures remaining, the Jaguares would be in pole position in the local conference table, with the four accomplished South African teams trailing in their wake?
And yet, that’s exactly what has happened, and there is nothing to suggest that the Jaguares will relinquish their hold on proceedings.
The match in Sydney was a closely fought affair, but the Waratahs were forced to play catch-up from the start, and in the end they just couldn’t outreach the Jaguares, who played well overall, but lacked composure and discipline at crucial stages of the game. Luckily for them, the Waratahs failed to punish their errors.
The visitors held a 10-3 lead at the midway mark, thanks to a try from wing Ramiro Moyano, coupled with a conversion and penalty from Domingo Miotti. And that advantage stretched further after the break when Moyano completed his brace for a healthy 14-point lead.
With the clock winding down, the Waratahs clawed their way back into the contest to get within two points on the scoreboard, but the Jaguares found their second wind in the last 10 minutes to see out the game. Replacement flyhalf Joaquín Díaz Bonilla slotted a pressure kick to put some breathing space between the sides.
The Waratahs had one last chance to get a favourable result when they tried to run the ball from deep. But the Jaguares’ star flank Pablo Matera made a play for the ball on the ground and won a turnover for his effort. With time up on the clock, Díaz Bonilla lined up and slotted a second successful penalty to deny the Waratahs a losing bonus point, an act that could be crucial in the context of the Australian conference.
Waratahs – Tries: Penalty try, Curtis Rona. Conversions: Automatic conversion. Penalty: Bernard Foley.
Jaguares – Tries: Ramiro Moyano (2). Conversions: Domingo Miotti. Penalty: Miotti. Penalties: Joaquín Díaz Bonilla (2).
Waratahs – 15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Subs: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Curtis Rona.
Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Santiago Carreras, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de le Fuente (c), 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Subs: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Nahiel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Lucio Sordoni, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Matías Moroni.