Captain Creevy to fore as Jaguares batter Bulls
BUENOS AIRES – Skipper Agustin Creevy scored two tries for the Argentine Jaguares as they outplayed the South African Northern Bulls 29-11 Saturday in a wet, muddy Buenos Aires stadium.
Northern Bulls’ wing Jamba Ulengo (bottom-R) releases the ball during a pile up in their Super Rugby match against Jaguares in Buenos Aires
The experienced hooker struck from unstoppable driving mauls after line-outs as the hosts adapted much better to the difficult conditions in the round 15 match at rain-lashed Estadio Jose Amalfitani.
Another Argentina star, fly-half, Nicolas Sanchez, kicked four penalties and converted a try by flanker Pablo Matera as the Jaguares achieved a third victory in 13 outings during their maiden season.
After three narrow home defeats by high-profile opponents between March and May, this comfortable success should boost confidence ahead of two more home fixtures.
The Argentines host defending champions Otago Highlanders of New Zealand next Saturday and overall Super Rugby leaders Golden Lions of South Africa a week later in the final league round.
Three-time former champions the Bulls, who needed a win to have a realistic chance of pipping compatriots Coastal Sharks for a quarter-finals place, were a huge disappointment.
They lacked skipper and hooker Adriaan Strauss, rested after leading South Africa to a 2-1 series victory over Ireland last weekend, and several injured forwards.
But no one in the small crowd would have guessed the Pretoria outfit were fighting for a knockout place as they lacked commitment until the closing stages, when it was too late.
Fly-half Francois Brummer slotted two penalties from four attempts at goal, but one of his misses was a “sitter”.
Scrum-half Piet van Zyl made a positive impact when he come off the bench and scored the visitors’ lone try by taking a quick tap penalty and wriggling his way past several Jaguares.
His score on 60 minutes trimmed the deficit to 23-11, but failed to ignite a lacklustre Bulls team.
Instead, leading 2015 Rugby World Cup points scorer Sanchez added two more penalties.
Brummer and Sanchez exchanged early penalties before Matera dotted down beside the post after winger Santiago Cordero evaded several tackles.
Sanchez converted for a seven-point lead that stretched to 12 when Creevy, who also skippers the national team, got his first try.
Another Brummer penalty left the South Africans, who were Super Rugby champions in 2007, 2009 and 2010, trailing 15-6 at half-time.
Jaguares camped in the Bulls’ half for the first 20 minutes of the second half and were rewarded with a Sanchez penalty and a Creevy try.
Defeat left the South Africans three points behind the Sharks in the race for the third and final place in the knockout phase from the two African conferences.
They have a tougher run-in than the Sharks, who finish with two home fixtures while the Bulls are away in the final round.