The Jaguares put in a strong performance in Buenos Aires for the final Vodacom Super Rugby match of the weekend to see off the Cell C Sharks 34-7 to secure their place at the top of the South African Conference.
It took two minutes for the opening score of the game, the Jaguares producing a speedy attack down the touchline to score an early try in the corner for the perfect start for the Argentineans. Although the conversion attempt went wide the hosts would have been thrilled with the way the game had started.
The Jaguares continued to build pressure on the field and converted that to scoreboard reward with a strong build-up to their second try on the quarter hour, this one converted to give them a 12-0 lead.
The next ten minutes of the game belonged to the Cell C Sharks who put together some good passages of play to pressurise the Jaguares, but the hosts were up for the task with some accomplished defence that kept us out.
The Jaguares were awarded three kickable penalties in the final 10 minutes of the half but their flyhalf was having an off-day with the boot and together with the missed conversion, pushed all three penalties aside.
At half-time, the Cell C Sharks trailed 12-0, having enjoyed some possession but being forced to defend and the hosts making good of their opportunities on attack for the two tries.
With the Jaguares enjoying early possession in the second half, they made inroads into our half before earning a penalty at the foot of the posts and this time converting from directly in front. Some intensity on attack gave us good impetus and a try-saving tackle put paid to a great scoring opportunity, although thee was an earlier penalty advantage that hadn’t accrued.
There was another really enterprising effort and long build-up but it was the Jaguares who managed to strike again, a good kick chase resulting in their third try after 53 minutes, the conversion giving them a 22 point lead.
The Jaguares turned defence into attack as they fielded a kick in their half and managed to punch their way through with a quick strike that found our defence out of alignment for a run-in to their fourth try that, with the conversion, took them 29 points ahead with the final quarter left to play.
The Jaguares defence was tested routinely as we hammered away at their line, only to be repelled before a rampaging Andre Esterhuizen took the ball at pace and smashed his way over the tryline for our first score, with Curwin Bosch converting and marginally over 10 minutes of the game remaining.
In the final act of the game, a clever grubber ahead sent the ball into the right spot for the Jaguares’ wing to run onto and score the last points of the game to close out a frustrating match for the Cell C Sharks who delivered no shortage of effort but simply came up against a fired-up Jaguares team who are enjoying a purple patch in the run in to the knockout rounds.