PRETORIA – The Jaguares overturned a 10-point deficit in the dying stages to claim a stunning 22-20 victory over the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.
Prior to this clash, the Bulls had opted to rest key backs Handre Pollard and Jesse Kriel as part of SA Rugby's resting policy for Springbok players, while Schalk Brits was unavailable due to suspension.
Considering this weakened squad, the Bulls would have valued a win against the Jaguares as much as a piece of gold, but they squandered such an opportunity as they faded in the final few minutes to concede 12 unanswered points.
Domingo Miotti scored two crucial tries for the Jaguares, who punished the Bulls during a dramatic final few minutes when the hosts had seen two men sent to the sin bin.
The Bulls had made a steady start to this clash in the opening exchanges, with Manie Libbok kicking the hosts into a 9-0 lead as the Jaguares' ill-discipline let them down.
However, the Argentine side would strike back with an important try in the 27th minute as Pablo Matera went over for a stunning solo try that suddenly brought the visitors straight back into proceedings despite seeing very little of the ball.
It was, unfortunately, the only real highlight in what had otherwise been a pretty lacklustre opening half from both sides, although the Bulls would have been particularly disappointed to lead by just two points at the break.
Nevertheless, the Bulls made an ideal start to the second half when a break from Burger Odendaal ultimately set up a try for Jade Stighling in the 43rd minute.
With the Jaguares' discipline continuing to let them down, they then saw Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle, which further denied them an opportunity to begin building momentum.
Instead, the Bulls just continued to build their lead, with Libbok knocking over two more penalties to see the hosts move into a 20-10 advantage.
Just as it looked as if the Bulls might cruise to victory, though, the Jaguares launched a late comeback to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Bulls 20 (9): Try: Jade Stighling. Penalties: Manie Libbok (5).
Jaguares 22 (7): Tries: Pablo Matera, Domingo Miotti (2). Conversions: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Miotti. Penalty: Iglesias
African News Agency (ANA)