Demoralising loss

The Cell C Sharks went down 51-17 to the visiting Jaguares at Jonsson KINGS PARK in a disappointing Vodacom Super Rugby match on a beautiful autumn day in Durban.

Looking to follow up last week’s wonderful display against the Lions, this was a frustrating game where the pressure of playing catch-up rugby meant that the Cell C Sharks were always on the back foot.

The game didn’t start off as well as we would have hoped. Battling to get out of our defensive area, the Cell C Sharks conceded an early try when the Jaguares showed good intent on attack to take a seven point lead inside the opening five minutes.

With a shade over 10 minutes played, a lovely break from Curwin Bosch through the middle of the field set up space in the Jaguares’ half and Hyron Andrews was in the right place to receive the final pass and his long legs carried him over for a converted try that levelled matters.

The Cell C Sharks hit the front at the conclusion of the first quarter, Robert du Preez converting a penalty following a powerful scrum. The forwards had put pressure on the Jaguares at the set-piece and were rewarded for their efforts.

The Jaguares retook the lead when we lost the ball in their half and their mobile number six flank sped towards the tryline, chipped ahead, regathered the ball and scored his team’s second try which was converted for a 14-10 lead with five minutes of the half remaining.

A third try two minutes later put the Jaguares in control of the game and with the successful conversion, took them into a 21-10 lead with a few minutes remaining. There was a strong possibility of cutting the deficit late in the half but the visitors managed to withstand a late effort to take an 11 point lead into the break.

The Jaguares struck early in the second half, poaching a lineout and then working their way upfield to score their fourth try. The conversion took them into a 28-10 lead and with half an hour remaining, the visitors added a penalty to extend their lead.

Moments later they had scored again, an attacking lineout giving them the traction and then a chip over the defence was followed up for the score to take them 26 points clear with 25 minutes remaining.

Under pressure, we responded in perfect fashion with a number of changes in personnel and Aphelele Fassi being fed the perfect pass from Bosch to send the replacement into space for an important score. Bosch, now operating at flyhalf, added the two and there was everything to play for.

Unfortunately the Argentineans were able to add a penalty to add further pressure to our fightback and then as the game went into the final quarter hour, they managed to strike from an attacking scrum for a try that took them into a strong 46-17 lead.

With time almost up, the Jaguares managed to pressure a turnover and then score a TMO referred try. The conversion went wide under a deflection in the last move of the game.