WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The Jaguares conceded a try within the first minute and rallied magnificently to beat the Hurricanes 28-20 in Super Rugby for the first time on Friday.
Perhaps the best win the Jaguares have achieved in their four-year history was against a Hurricanes team studded with All Blacks and with the second best record in Super Rugby.
In another shock result, the Pretoria-based Bulls reclaimed the lead in the South Africa conference by defeating the Melbourne Rebels 32-17. The win was the Bulls’ first outside South Africa in 13 matches over three years.
The Hurricanes rested All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett but that wasn’t the cause of their defeat. Argentina’s Jaguares defended magnificently, tackling round the legs to bring down the Hurricanes’ dangerous ball-runners and to stop attacking movements in their tracks.
They were able to force turnovers and to create a stop-start tempo which further frustrated the Hurricanes’ effort to ignite their attack.
“It is very big for us as a team,” said Jaguares back-rower Pablo Matera, who was one of their tireless heroes.
“To come here and get a victory in Wellington against the Hurricanes, one of the best teams in the world, is amazing for us.
“We’ve been working very hard since January. All the work we’ve been doing was reflected here tonight.”
Fullback Jordie Barrett weaved through the Jaguares’ defense to set up a try for flanker Vaea Fifita after only 50 seconds to give the Hurricanes a dream start. But Barrett epitomized the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the Hurricanes’ peformance, committing a schoolboy error 14 minutes later to concede a penalty try and give the Jaguares’ a lead they never relinquished.
Barrett deliberately batted the ball over the dead ball line to give up a penalty try and earn 10 minutes in the sin bin.
The Jaguares scored two more tries through hooker Agustin Creevy and center Jeronimo de la Fuente to lead 21-8 at halftime.
The Hurricanes closed the gap with an early second half try to center Ngani Laumape, his ninth of the season.
But the Jaguares made the game safe with a 65th-minute try to replacement hooker Julian Montoya, becoming the first overseas team to beat the Hurricanes in Wellington for more than four years.
The Hurricanes scored a consolation try through Kane Leaupepe after the fulltime siren.
The Bulls, who average only two tries per game this season, scored four tries to three in Melbourne to deny the Rebels even a losing bonus point. Working with only 25 percent of possession, they managed to lead 17-12 at halftime.
The Bulls often dominate through their strong forward pack but the first scrum of the match didn’t come until the 35th minute and, instead, they took on the Rebels in the open field.
The Rebels drew level at 17-17 three minutes into the second with the second try to winger Marika Koroibete.
But sevens star and winger Rosko Specman scored one try and created another for center Burger Odendaal through the middle of the second half to lift the Bulls to an upset win.
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