Jaguares too good for the Bulls at Loftus
PRETORIA – The Bulls slumped to their fourth straight defeat in this year’s Super Rugby competition when they were convincingly beaten by last year’s runners-up, the Jaguares, in a Super Rugby match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The men from Argentina outscored the Bulls six tries to three and dominated several areas of the contest. The Bulls though, while generally outplayed, scored some quality tries – something they had battled to do in their earlier matches this season.
Unfortunately for them, their defence let them down badly on this occasion. They left gaping holes in their defence at times and also slipped a number of one-on-one tackles, which allowed the visitors to run in some easy tries.
The Bulls’ handling was at times also extremely disappointing and in the first half alone two great try-scoring chances went begging after players failed to hang onto passes with the team in space and on the attack. The Jaguares were simply more clinical in most departments than their hosts and looked like a team that could again challenge for a place in the final this year.
Jaguares wing Emiliano Boffelli scored first in the fourth minute after a period of sustained pressure by his team and the wing would grab a second try in the second half.
Before 10 minutes were up though fit-again Bulls flank Marco van Staden crossed for the home team after a smart lineout move which caught the Jaguares out, but the visitors quickly restored their lead when No 8 Rodrigo Bruni crashed over from close range.
The Bulls though grabbed the lead again six minute from half-time when 50-cap star Warrick Gelant went in at the corner after being fed by scrumhalf Embrose Papier on the blindside, but any thoughts that Pote Human’s team were in charge and about to turn their season around were dashed before the break.
The Jaguares, who’ve come to be known as one of the most lethal and dangerous counter-attacking teams in Super Rugby, struck a double blow when lock Guido Petti and centre Matias Moroni finished off for their team after the Bulls’ defence had gone to sleep in both instances. The Jaguares led 24-14 at the break and were on their way to a third win in this year’s competition.
Bulls wing Cornal Hendricks though helped closed the gap to just three points soon after half-time when he scored after a wonderful run by wing Rosko Specman but centre Johnny Kotze was sin-binned soon after that and it allowed the Jaguares to score their fifth try; Boffelli collecting a perfectly weighted kick-pass by his No 10, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla.
Morne Steyn struck a 54th minute penalty, but the home team wouldn’t score again as the Jaguares closed out the game with a Bonilla penalty and sixth try, by replacement hooker Santiago Socino.
The Jaguares are now third in the SA Conference with three wins from five, while the Bulls are fifth with one log points after four winless games.
Bulls (14) 24: Tries: Van Staden, Gelant, Hendricks; Conversions: Steyn (3); Penalty: Steyn
Jaguares (24) 39 Tries: Boffelli (2), Bruni, Petti, Moroni, Socino; Conversions: Bonilla (3); Penalty: Bonilla