WELLINGTON – Argentina's Jaguares upset Waikato Chiefs 23-19 in Rotorua on Friday to claim their fourth straight away win and their second New Zealand scalp in as many weeks.
It was an unprecedented fourth consecutive win for Mario Ledesma's men, who scored two tries to nil, including a penalty try.
The Argentines took two-and-a-half seasons to beat a New Zealand team in the Auckland Blues last week then backed it up with victory against the highly rated Chiefs.
It gives them a perfect record on their Australasian road trip, with wins against Melbourne Rebels, ACT Brumbies, Blues and Chiefs.
As they head back to Buenos Aires for a well-deserved bye, lock Guido Petti Pagadizava said confidence was high in the team that has struggled at times since joining Super Rugby in 2016.
“We keep doing our thing and trying to focus on our game and it's coming,” he said.
The Chiefs let themselves down with poor discipline and were down to 13 men at one point, with two players in the sin bin.
They lost Sam Cane and Lachlan Boshier to injury just before kickoff and lacked fluency in attack.
“They brought a lot of heat and line speed,” Chiefs fullback Charlie Ngatai said. “We couldn't make any breaks, they put a lot of pressure on us, and that's our game really.”
Defence dominated the first half, with Jaguares wing Ramiro Moyano scoring the only try before the break after a run from Joaquin Tuculet.
The Argentines contained the Chiefs' potent backline but struggled at scrum-time, allowing Damien McKenzie to kick four penalties and send the hosts into the break up 12-10.
The Jaguares regained the lead with a penalty soon after the restart and gained an advantage when Chiefs lock Michael Allardice was sinbinned for dangerous play.
Referee Mike Fraser then awarded the Jaguares a seven-point penalty try after Liam Messam illegally collapsed their driving maul, with the All Black back rower also sent to the bin.
The Jaguares could not add to their score while the Chiefs were short-handed and the hosts looked dangerous when they were back to 15 men.
Chiefs fullback Charlie Ngatai thought he had a runaway try but it was disallowed because of a knock-on in the build-up.
A Jaguares penalty then make it 23-12 with 10 minutes to go and while Jesse Parete managed a consolation try the deficit was too much to overcome.