Jaguares win big cat fight
The Jaguares put together a powerful performance to score their second consecutive home win over a South African side in a Vodacom Super Rugby match in Buenos Aires, beating the Toyota Cheetahs 41-14 on Saturday night.
Winger Ramiro Moyano scored a hat-trick as his team crossed the line five times in the game, underlining their dominance against a young and injury-ridden Cheetahs side that were always chasing the game.
It was always going to be a tough task for the Cheetahs with so many players injured and on the sidelines, but while the scoreboard may not show it, their second half in particular was a lot more inspiring as the team kept ball in hand and made the home side work a lot harder for possession.
Unfortunately, a few late tries by the home team stretched the scoreline to look closer to a massacre than the tough outing it was.
But despite the challenges there were brave performances by some of the Cheetahs, even though it seemed the Jaguares were more street smart and always a level up on them in terms of experience and talent.
It took just seven minutes for Moyano to cross the tryline the first time, as one of the first forays into the Cheetahs' half brought some excellent offloading skills to the fore, and the effect of the momentum, coupled with space in the Jaguares backline, saw the big winger almost stopped three metres short before he crawled across the line to score.
It took the visitors more than 10 minutes to eventually get their hands on the ball for the first time and when they did, they struggled to make it past a robust, physical Jaguares defence that often found them isolated.
While they made metres upfield, it was never as flowing as the home side and they were quickly deeper in trouble as the Jaguares stretched their lead first through a Juan Martin Hernandez penalty, and then when big lock Matias Alemanno barged his way over the line to score the team’s second try.
Some 25 minutes into the game, the Cheetahs did get some reward as a potent driving maul set up some attacking play, before midfielder Michael van der Spuy found himself in enough space on the outside to put his side’s first points on the board.
The happiness didn’t last long as a poor kick by the Cheetahs three minutes later saw the Jaguares counter in spectacular fashion, with Moyano taking the last pass to add to his try total.
At halftime the Jaguares were firmly in control and leading 24-7.
The Cheetahs seemed to change their approach in the second half, shunning kicking and keeping the ball more in hand, a tactic that started to pay dividends for them.
But even as they did that, they lacked the finishing touches of teams we have become accustomed to under coach Franco Smith, and while they kept the scoreline down and looked better in the second half, there was never any doubt who would win the game.
All the Jaguares could do right in the first 15 minutes of the second half was another penalty for Hernandez, as the Cheetahs' set-piece started to strengthen and they gained some confidence from this despite the scoreboard.
And after some decent hits up the middle, and a lot of pressure in the Jaguares half, there was some excellent touches as Joseph Dweba put his head down and forced his way over for the visitors' second try.
Moments later though the Cheetahs conceded a try to negate their own good efforts as a long-range counter attack saw Moyano seal his hat-trick and kill any chance the Cheetahs had of forcing their way back into the equation.
The home team ended strongly, with a powerful rolling maul that led the referee to give them a penalty try.
Following their comprehensive victory, the Jaguares will now also eye the African conference spot against the Lions and Sharks, knowing if they get home ground advantage later on, they will be very tough to beat.
Jaguares – tries: Ramiro Moyano (3), Matias Alemanno, Penalty try. Conversions: Juan Martin Hernandez (5). Penalties: Hernandez (2).
Toyota Cheetahs – tries: Michael van der Spuy, Joseph Dweba. Conversions: Neil Marais (2)