Few uninformed people would have thought it was a clash between two sides hoping for a play-off spot in one of the world’s top competitions. Eighteen handling errors, nine by each side, only partly tell the story.
The Jaguares on Saturday night closely but deservedly won the error-littered match against the Stormers in Buenos Aires 30-25, scoring three tries to one and gave to the Stormers hopes of making the play-offs a further knock.
The Stormers were superior in the scrums, one of the strengths of all three South African sides in Round 12 of the competition this weekend, but there was very little else to commend in their attack.
They were dull with ball in hand, seemed uncertain and disjointed on attack and were only kept in the scrap through six penalties by Jean-Luc du Plessis (four) and Damian Willemse (two), with a try four minutes from time by Seabelo Senatla their only and unexpected five-pointer in a match where the most of the attacking play came from the home side.
The Jaguares scored two tries and were awarded a blatant penalty try when JJ Engelbrecht slapped down an attack in the right corner where the Stormers were outnumbered and a try a certainty.
Willemse’s play must be of some concern to Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus. Safe enough at the back, his inability to link with his backline was again noticeable, with his hopping from one foot to the other seemingly his only option to get out of trouble and keeping the ball alive.
On attack as a fullback he does not have the linking ability of Warrick Gelant, Curwin Bosch or Aphiwe Fassi – and when he was moved to flyhalf, his kicking game varied between good and poor. A rethink on his World Cup inclusion seems certain.
♦ Up front the home side dominated possession and with new kid on the block Domingo Miotti also used the possession to dominate territorially. This youngster is a class act.
The home side made ten clean breaks to the Stormers five and conceded only 13 turnovers to 21. An indication of the Jaguares possession dominance was that the Stormers were asked to make 147 tackles, the home side only 114.
The Jaguares also dominated the rucks79-59, lost only one of their nine lineouts to the Stormers four from 13 and, as is the wont of the Argentinians, they also conceded 14 penalties to eight.
A perfect example of the Stormers bungling play was their fightback from 18-30 to 25-30 in the last four minutes, forcing two attacking lineouts. Then, well after playing time had expired, they botched a lineout that should have set up a possible win through a lineout maul seven metres from the Jaguares tryline.
The home side won the lineout against the throw and elatedly kick the ball into the stand.
It was a poor match, with the only qualify play coming from the home side who went in front in the fourth minute when Pablo Matera scored a try after a break and good stepping by Emeliano Boffelli and poor Stormers defence. The Jaguares never relinquished the lead.
Jaguares (13) 30: Tries: Pablo Matera, Ramiro Moyano, Penalty try. Conversions: Domingo Miotti (2), Automatic conversion. Penalties: Miotti (3).
Stormers (9) 25: Try: Seabelo Senatla. Conversion: Damian Willemse. Penalties: Jean-Luc du Plessis (4), Willemse (2).