Jaguares back in winners’ circle

Super Rugby

BUENOS AIRES – The Jaguares snapped a four-match losing streak with a come-from-behind 46-39 victory over the Sunwolves in a Super Rugby try-fest on Saturday.

The hosts turned a 39-27 deficit 14 minutes from time into a seven-point victory thanks to tries from Matias Alemanno, Agustin Creevy and Matias Moroni.

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Sunwolves wing Shota Emi is tackled by Juan Martin Hernandez (right) and Tomas Lezana of the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Saturday. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko, APSunwolves loose forward Willie Britz is brought down by Juan Martin Hernandez. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko, APThere was no way through for Shunsuke Nunomaki of the Sunwolves. Photo: Natacha Pisarenko, AP

Jaguares scored seven tries and Sunwolves five at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in a lively conclusion to round 11 of the regular season. Victory left the hosts with a slim chance of making the quarter-finals – they trail the Sharks by eight points with five games to play.

The Sunwolves are playing for pride, having won just one of 10 matches, but running the Jaguares close in their first visit to Buenos Aires confirmed recent improvement.

They arrived in Argentina after finishing a three-match tour of New Zealand with an encouragingly narrow 27-20 loss to twice champions Chiefs.

“It was not our best performance this season, but we are very happy to have finished so strongly,” said Jaguares No 8 and try-scorer Leonardo Senatore. “A win is a win, and securing four points is most welcome for us after losing four matches in a row, including one at home.

“We play in Buenos Aires again next weekend against the Western Force, and Australian teams are very fast, so our preparations must take that into account.”

A Will Tupou try in the second minute gave Sunwolves the perfect start and they led 25-22 after a first half which ended with lock Sam Wykes being yellow-carded.

Jaguares failed to score against 14 men and appeared in trouble when a Wykes try converted by flyhalf Yu Tamura gave the Tokyo-based side a 12-point advantage.

But the power and direct approach of the Argentine pack told in the closing stages, with two of the three tries coming from forwards, while replacement back Moroni claimed the decisive score.

Senatore, Emiliano Boffelli, skipper Creevy (2), Alemanno and Moroni scored tries for the Jaguares and they were awarded a penalty try, which is worth seven points in Super Rugby.

Veteran playmaker Juan Martin Hernandez, who had a rare off-day in general play, kicked two conversions and a penalty, and Joaquin Diaz Bonelli one conversion.

Tupou, Shota Emi, Tamura (2) and Wykes were Sunwolves’ try-scorers, while Tamura slotted four conversions and two penalties to finish with a 24-point haul.

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