Jaguares come from behind to edge Rebels
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Jaguares came from behind to edge the Rebels 32-29 in a scrappy game in Melbourne on Friday.
The Rebels held a commanding 22-13 lead with the final quarter approaching, before the Jaguares clicked into a higher gear and raced into 32-22 lead - with the late consolations score closing the gap to just three points in the end.
The much-improved Jaguares leave for home having won back-to-back games on their first trip to Australia - after also having downed the Waratahs 40-27 in Sydney last week.
The Jaguares trailed 10-19 at half-time and then 13-22 heading towards the final quarter, but they finished strongly.
The Argentines completed their second season in Super Rugby winning seven of their 15 matches and finished third behind the Lions and Sharks in the Africa Two conference.
Wing Santiago Cordero scored a try double - with other tries to lock Guido Petti and replacement scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou.
Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked two conversions and two penalties with Juan Martin Hernández adding another conversion.
"This is our second season and it's still all new for us and it's great to finish with a win, next season will be much better," scrumhalf Martin Landajo said.
"We've learned more about our mentality. We have a small group, not many players, so we are learning a lot and we are enjoying our rugby."
The Rebels, who may have played their last game in Super Rugby with a decision still to be made on which Australian team to be culled for next season, began strongly with Wallaby back Reece Hodge scoring all his side's 19 points in the first half.
But the Jaguares were stronger in the second half with Petti backing up a break from Sanchez to score, Cordero scoring off a high Sanchez kick and Bertranou burrowing his way over close to the line.
The Jaguares were strong in the set piece and the forwards began to dominate during the second half with the Rebels falling off the pace and missing a total of 43 tackles.
"Obviously, it's been a tough season for us and we've let ourselves down with our results but we showed tonight that we can mix it and we can play good rugby," Rebels skipper Nic Stirzaker said.
The Rebels finished the season last in the Australian conference with just one win and a draw, and will face an anxious time awaiting their fate for next season.
Man of the match: Reece Hodge kept his team in the lead for most of the match with his deadly boot - kicking one penalty from well inside his own half. Amanaki Mafi was also very effective till he left the field late in the second half with an injury. Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez and scrumhalf Martin Landajo had their moments, No.8 Leonardo Senatore was busy and flank Pablo Matera probably the most effective of the forwards. Our award goes to Jaguares wing Santiago Cordero, for his great finishing ability that produced a double - including the match-winning try.
For the Rebels:
Tries: Hodge, Cummins
Cons: Hodge 2
Pens: Hodge 5
For the Jaguares:
Tries: Cordero 2, Petti, Bertranou
Cons: Sanchez 2, Hernández
Pens: Sanchez 2
Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (Captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Fereti Sa'aga, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Semisi Tupou/Jonah Placid
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Baez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Benjamin Macome, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Austin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Ramiro Herrera, 18 Lucas Noguera, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Juan Martin Hernández, 23 Matias Moroni.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia) , James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)