May 04, 2018

Jaguares overcome Gallagher Chiefs in Rotorua

The Jaguares from Argentina have come away from their visit to the Rotorua International Stadium with a well-deserved 23-19 win over a depleted Gallagher Chiefs side.

In just the second ever match between the two teams, a huge defensive effort from the Jaguares saw them back up their win over the Blues last weekend to extend their winning streak to four, and hand the Chiefs their third loss of the season.

After a mistake from the kick off gave the Jaguares a brief period on attack to start the match, the opening stages were dominated by the home side as they hammered away at the Jaguares line for several minutes. Some impressive defence kept them out and restricted them to just a penalty from the boot of first five Damian McKenzie.

The response from the Jaguares mirrored that of the Chiefs, as they worked towards the try line and tested the Chiefs defence with sustained pressure. Like the Chiefs at the other end, they had to settle for a penalty shot at goal but the attempt from Nicolas Sanchez hit the post and missed.

Minutes later the Jaguares earned themselves another chance at three points, albeit from the halfway line, but up stepped winger Emiliano Boffelli who nailed it with plenty of room to spare and the scores were tied halfway through the first half.

The second quarter started with another McKenzie penalty, which he just snuck inside the left upright, to nudge the Chiefs back in front.

With the Chiefs on attack once more, the Jaguares then pounced on a dropped pass and launched a superb counter attack from 60 metres out which was finished off by winger Ramiro Moyano. Sanchez added the extras and all of a sudden the visitors were in front 10-6.

As the half moved into the final 10 minutes, the Chiefs slowly began to assert their dominance, with their strong scrum in particular giving them some good momentum. Eventually there was a chance for more points and McKenzie added his third penalty to narrow the gap to one.

The final play of the half saw the Chiefs again test the resilient Jaguares defence, but for a fourth time had to settle for a penalty, with McKenzie on target to give his side a 12-10 lead at the break.

It didn't take long for the Jaguares to regain the lead as just three minutes into the second half Sanchez slotted another penalty, which was followed by a rare penalty miss at the other end by McKenzie.

An extraordinary couple of minutes then completely swung the momentum of the match. Firstly, lock Michael Allardice was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle and from the resulting penalty the Chiefs infringed on the goal line with a penalty try awarded and another yellow card shown to Liam Messam.

With only 13 men the next 10 minutes became crucial for the Chiefs as they looked to hang on and keep themselves in the contest. Despite some nervous moments they were able to get to the 60-minute mark without conceding further points and were restored to 15 men with some fresh legs brought on from the bench.

There was soon another big call just as the Chiefs looked like they had narrowed the gap - a poor clearance from the Jaguares saw the Chiefs take advantage with a well worked try to fullback Charlie Ngatai but the TMO adjudged a knock on in the build up and the try was ruled out.

A controlled response from the Jaguares saw them work their way into the Chiefs half and, after initially turning down a shot at goal, Sanchez opted to add three more points to stretch the lead to 23-12 with just eight minutes remaining.

The end of the match saw plenty of half chances for the Chiefs as they desperately searched for points, needing to score two tries in the final stages, but a committed Jaguares defence kept up their intensity right until the 80th minute.

In added time the Chiefs finally got their way over the line for their first try of the night, with a nice finish from debutant loose forward Jesse Parete securing the Chiefs a losing bonus point, but it was not enough to deny the Jaguares back to back wins on New Zealand soil.

Gallagher Chiefs 19 (Jesse Parete try; Damian McKenzie con, 4 pens) Jaguares 23 (Ramiro Moyano try, penalty try; Nicolas Sanchez con, 2 pens, Emiliano Boffelli pen) HT: 12-10.

The Gallagher Chiefs now head to South Africa for matches against the Stormers in Cape Town (Sunday 13 May, 1.05am NZ time) and Sharks in Durban (Sunday 20 May, 1.05am NZ time).