Jaguars take a ‘bite’ out of ChiefsMana, win fourth tour Match

Jaguars take a 'bite' out of ChiefsMana, win fourth tour Match
ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 04: Tomas Lezana of the Jaguares is tackled during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Jaguares at Rotorua International Stadium on May 4, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

In a sensational month for the Jaguares from South America, the side has travelled extremely well. Achieving the fourth win of a fantastic month on tour, on Friday night they managed to take a ‘bite’ out of ChiefsMana.

That term is the ‘community identity’ which the Hamilton-based NZ Super Rugby team refers to themselves and their fans (whanau) as. It has been a strong key to the sides success. Their mana, yet the visitors – who had only just accomplished their first win on New Zealand soil – took a giant leap, with their second win in two weeks.

Another massive team effort, to defy the critics. And through that team mantra, they denied the home side (what some might have called) an assured haul of points. Instead, they will be wracked by the pain of missed tackles and two yellow cards.

The Jaguares impressed, with a 19-23 win. They snuffed out much of the vaunted Chiefs attack, they defused the magic of Damian McKenzie and showed the heart and spirit that is endearing them to more fans each week. Vamos Jaguares!

Jaguars take a ‘bite’ out of ChiefsMana

A huge bite. A fourth bite in fact, out of the Australasian sides. An astounding act for those watching. The home crowd, which had assumed early in the year this might be an enjoyable win, went home stunned as the radio headlines now read ‘Jaguares win’.

That is unheard of. Four wins on the road is also unheard of – add in the Jaguares team, and the facts seem fanciful.

But not in 2018.

The side have been a revelation, a change from the once ‘easybeats’ that have now become a major threat. And when Ramiro Moyano scored their opening try in the first half, they quickly muted the normally rowdy, Chiefsmana crowd.

The scrum packs down during the round 12 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Jaguares at Rotorua International Stadium on May 4, 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Instead of the usually reserved crowd, Rotorua International Stadium was filled with the high-volume South American fans. Dressed in Los Pumas colours, carrying the Argentine flag and beaming with smiles, it again was mesmerising. The chanting became louder, especially as the side earned a 12-21 lead with ten minutes to play.

Over that exciting period, the visitors again withstood the last-gasp attempts from the Chiefs to score two late tries. Gladly for the ‘Jags fans, they only achieved the very last play of the game – a converted try to Jesse Parete – which was still not enough to deny the Jaguares yet more applause in 2018.

Sam Cane injured – Brodie Retallick off the bench

A deathly late injury call was made on the fitness of Chiefs skipper Sam Cane. Only hours prior to the matches start, one key figure was omitted from the hosts side. Cane is the power from the scrum base, and when he was stolen by injury, it will have rattled the Chiefsmana.

The replacement chosen was Liam Messam. While that seems to be a well meaning option to play at the openside flanker, it didn’t fit well. The re-mix of losing Sam Cane and Lachlan Boshier {appendicitus} to injury, saw Luke Jacobson thrown in. The challenge seemed more than the loose trio could manage, especially when Messam was handed his yellow card.

The highlights do not not represent how the Chiefs mistakes played into the visitors hands though. Especially in the second half, as the desperation of the Chiefs was exaggerated. Not falling apart, but Colin Cooper will find only some solace in the fact that, when reduced to 13 men, his team did not concede more points.

Whether a fully fit Cane, plus Nepo Laulala and Kane Hames, may have reversed the result, is an unknown. But even in saying that, the fact Brodie Retallick played was due to him being required – otherwise, he was to be rested.

Coach Colin Cooper knew leading into the season that Cane, Retallick, McKenzie, Anton Lienert-Brown and other leading players needed to be managed. They will be needed for representative footy, and the France test series is only four weeks away. Retallick had is an assured 2018 selection. He has demonstrated that again, what an asset he is.

Unfortunately, even he could not bring his wealth of skill to bear on this match in the second half. The Jaguares were in fact the better of the Chiefs tonight. Gaining more advantage as the match progressed, it was a credit to their resilience and confidence levels.

Jaguares in line to hold second place in South African Conference

Not knowing the outcome of the Hurricanes v Lions match tonight, Mario Ledesma and his Jaguares management will be over the moon with their place in the South African conference. More than pleased actually. Never achieved before, it will be a raw emotion and new horizons for the franchise.

They will be more focused too on the remaining clashes of the 2018 calendar.

They now return home to face the Bulls, after a week of rest. One might think this is the ‘perfect launching pad’ to make an clear assault on the 2018 wildcard place. Conference winners secure a home quarter-final, with five key places up for grabs.

When Ledesma was asked following the Blues clash, his response was similar tonight.

“Don’t talk about that. One match at a time.”

An attitude that Jaguares stakeholders and South American media must too be circumspect. It is no assurance. The Bulls are also looking to line up second spot; both behind the Lions. If results go both sides way, they could reach 25 competition points by Sunday – the Jaguares points difference maybe undermined by the Bulls. But it might be that they each target the same goals, in 2018.

However, would the Bulls have dreamed that in pre-season planning, their competition would be the Jaguares. The Chiefs too, who possibly took this result a little lightly. And after tonight, and they’ve paid a heavy price for that.

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Hamilton 7s a Success on the Financial Spreadsheet

Domestic tourism in Hamilton was up 37 percent during the HSBC New Zealand Sevens tournament in February. In an economic report commissioned by organisers New Zealand Rugby, and event co-ordinators 37 South, excerpts released state that footy fans ‘spent an extra $1.9 million in Hamilton’ over the tournament weekend [February 3-4].

“I’m over the moon with the results,” the 37 South managing director Dallas Fisher said.

It reinforced the signs during that weekend, where a new venue and additional on-site and off-site entertainment and improved fan engagement, supported the move up from Wellington. And as such, next years event is already being marketed by the union.

That news might bring a smile to the Chiefsmana. Especially after Friday night.

For tickets, visit sevens.co.nz to secure your seat.

“Main photo credit”
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