Dunedin - The Highlanders held off a spirited second half by the Jaguares
to claim their Super Rugby clash 32-27 in Dunedin Saturday.
The Jaguares, with a chance to leap from third to top of the South
African conference took the unconventional move of stacking their bench
with an army of internationals.
The Argentinians trailed by 13 points at the break but as they closed
within striking distance at the end their chance of victory was undone
by a string of penalties.
The Highlanders scored four tries, but all in the first half, while
Jaguares produced three tries including two as they closed the gap in
the second half.
"We did a great job in coming back to the game," Tomas Cubelli said.
"But the end of the game was a bit frustrating. We'll have to double, even triple check some of the penalties at the end."
Highlanders skipper Luke Whitelock said the best thing he could take out of the match was his side hung on to win.
"It wasn't all smooth, so we'll take that as a positive," he said.
Neither side could claim their skill level was at its best with
handling errors and defensive lapses rife, but they shared a keenness to
attack which resulted in an entertaining spectacle.
They Jaguares made a flying start when Sebastian Cancelliere latched
on to an aimless Highlanders clearing kick to charge 50 metres before
setting up Matais Moroni for the opening try.
It sparked a run of tit-for-tat scoring -- tries by the Highlanders
and penalties by the Jaguares -- until the last five minutes before the
break when the Highlanders struck twice.
The first try to Sio Tomkinson came after the Jaguares failed to
control the kick off after a Joaquin Diaz Bonilla penalty had put them
13-12 ahead, and the Highlanders regained possession.
Liam Coltman then crossed from a lineout drive on the stroke of half-time for the Highlanders to turn with a 26-13 lead.
The Jaguares immediately closed from the restart with lock Marcos Kremer galloping 22 metres for a try.
Adding veterans Agustin Creevy, Tomas Lavanini, Pablo Matera and
Cubelli saw the Highlanders scoring chances reduced to two Josh Ioane
When Creevy set up a try for Ramiro Moyano, for the Jaguares to trail
by five, the game was set for a classic finish until a series of
penalties nullified the visitors' pressure.
Tries: James Lentjes, Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Liam Coltman
Conversions: Josh Ioane (3)
Penalties: Josh Ioane (2)
Tries: Matias Moroni, Marcos Kremer, Ramiro Moyano
Conversions: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla (3)
Penalties: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla (2)
15 Matt Faddes, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Luke Whitelock (captain), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Daniel Hollinshead, 23 Thomas Umaga-Jensen
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastián Cancelliere, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente (captain), 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 5 Lucas Paulos, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas
Substitutes: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Matías Orlando