Leonardo Senatore scored a hat-trick as the Jaguares thrashed the Kings 73-27 in Buenos Aires on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The Jaguares named a Test-laden side for this encounter, which included 12 changes to the team that lost to the Sunwolves last weekend.
Surprisingly, there were only a few handling errors in the match, but the Kings’ chaotic defence failed to negate the pace the hosts injected into the game from the outset.
The Jaguares enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and their willingness to keep the ball alive paid dividends with early tries by inside centre Juan Martín Hernández, wing Santiago Cordero and No 8 Senatore for a 21-3 advantage. Flyhalf Elgar Watts had slotted a penalty to get the Kings on the board.
Nicolás Sánchez converted on all three occasions before getting in on the try-scoring act in the 26th minute with a brilliant run through the heart of the Kings' non-existent defence.
To their credit, the Kings didn’t just lie down and struck twice on the stroke of half-time through star flank Chris Cloete and Stefan Watermeyer.
But the Jaguares’ high-risk offloading game sliced the visitors apart again, with captain Agustín Creevy and winger Manuel Montero getting on the scoresheet to make it 40-15.
The second half got off to the worst possible start for the Kings, as they lost winger Luzuko Vulindlu to the sin bin 22 seconds after the restart for taking an opponent out in the air.
His 10-minute stint off the field cost his already beleaguered team two further converted tries as Matias Alemanno and Emiliano Boffelli coasted over to score. But a number of breakdown penalties against the Jaguares afforded the Kings some good yardage as they finally moved into their red zone and from there Thembelani Bholi put his head down to narrow the deficit.
But conceding points with a one-man advantage didn’t seem to bother the free-running Jaguares in the slightest as Martín Landajo crossed for their ninth try before Senatore bagged a brace in quick succession to complete his hat-trick and wrap up a convincing win.
Kings captain Steven Sykes scored in the 80th minute, but it was scant consolation to his side.
Jaguares – Tries: Juan Martín Hernández, Santiago Cordero, Leonardo Senatore (3), Nicolás Sánchez, Agustín Creevy, Manuel Montero, Matías Alemanno, Emiliano Boffelli, Martín Landajo. Conversions: Sánchez (9).
Kings – Tries: Chris Cloete, Stefan Watermeyer, Thembelani Bholi, Steven Sykes. Conversions: Elgar Watts (2). Penalty: Watts.
Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Santiago García Botta.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.
Kings – 15 Jaco van Tonder, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 CJ Velleman, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5. JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Stefan Willemse, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 James Hall, 22 Louis Fouché, 23 Leighton Eksteen.
Photo: Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images