June 22, 2019

Match Report | Gallagher Chiefs season comes to an end against Jaguares

The Gallagher Chiefs season has come to an end, going down 21-16 to the Jaguares in Argentina.

In front of a parochial home crowd at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires, the in-form Jaguares jumped out to an early 8-0 lead but the Chiefs, as they have all season, showed great character and composure to keep themselves in the contest, working hard to stretch out to an eight-point lead of their own.

But it was not to be as the Jaguares showed their class in the second half, scoring 13 unanswered points over the final half an hour to book a deserved home semi-final next weekend.

A loose carry from the opening kick-off by the Chiefs gave the Jaguares a dream start as they took full advantage of the turnover, rumbling towards and over the line with loose forward Pablo Matera scoring after just 50 seconds of play.

The home side carried their early momentum throughout the opening 10 minutes, but the Chiefs weathered the storm and slowly began to assert themselves on the match, with wing Shaun Stevenson going close to leveling the scores but stepping into touch as he attempted to dot down in the right-hand corner.

Despite the Chiefs resurgence it was the Jaguares who scored next, with first five Joaquin Diaz Bonilla striking a long-range penalty kick to extend the lead to eight points at the 20-minute mark.

A fine response from the Chiefs saw them work their way patiently into Jaguares territory with in-form halfback Brad Weber ducking into a gap close to the ruck and breaking clear, before turning his pass back inside for Lachlan Boshier to score.

First five Jack Debreczeni converted from right in front to close the gap to 8-7.

The Boshier try gave the Chiefs a big lift, and they grew in confidence as the half wore on, going close to scoring on a couple of occasions, and eventually coming away with a Debreczeni penalty to take the lead for the first time in the match.

A scrappy end to the first half with several handling errors and penalties meant neither side threatened to add further points, and the Chiefs went into the break with a with two-point lead, recovering from an eight-point deficit to set themselves up nicely for the second 40 minutes.

A steady start to the second half led to a 44th minute penalty from Debreczeni, before he left the field soon after with a groin injury. It didn't take his replacement Marty McKenzie long to make a contribution as he slotted a penalty of his own just a few minutes later and the Chiefs lead moved out to eight.

But just as it looked like the Chiefs might be pulling away, a controlled and direct attack from the Jaguares saw them create space out wide for wing Matias Moroni to cross the line for their second try.

The home side immediately moved downfield from the kick off, suddenly looking very dangerous with ball in hand, and earned a penalty right in front which Joaquin Diaz Bonilla converted.

The sharp-shooting first five then added a third penalty a few minutes later and the quick 13 points had the Jaguares back in front by five with 20 minutes remaining.

With scoreboard pressure now working against them the Chiefs showed good composure to hold onto the ball, going close to the line with some good charges from the forward pack.

But a staunch Jaguares defence, with an animated crowd behind them, kept the Chiefs from scoring and they cleared the danger as the match entered the final five minutes.

Throughout the closing stages the Jaguares did a great job hanging on to possession, denying the Chiefs any chance to strike a late blow.

With time up the Chiefs won a penalty near their own goal line, giving them one last chance to keep their season alive, but a final defensive effort eventually ended in a Jaguares penalty to seal a historic win.

Gallagher Chiefs 16 (Lachlan Boshier try; Jack Debreczeni con, 2 pens, Marty McKenzie pen) Jaguares 21 (Pablo Matera, Matias Moroni tries; Joaquin Diaz Bonilla con, 3 pens) HT: 10-8.

Match Report | Gallagher Chiefs season comes to an end against Jaguares