Kings 26 v 39 Jaguares
The Jaguares pulled clear in the second half in Port Elizabeth to ultimately defeat the Kings 39-26 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
This was an excellent result on the road for the Jaguares considering the high number of their top players sidelined through injury, including regular starting half-backs Martín Landajo and Nicolás Sánchez.
After a tense first half the Jaguares finally pulled away thanks to scores from Leonardo Senatore and Joaquín Tuculet, although Makazole Mapimpi’s score in response did manage to take away the try bonus point for the visitors.
Despite their best efforts late on the Jaguares couldn’t find the try required to regain the three-try advantage for that attacking bonus point, but Raul Pérez will be happy overall with this first run-out ahead of facing the Stormers next weekend.
Joaquín Díaz Bonilla opened the scoring after three minutes with a penalty, Lionel Cronje swiftly responding for the Kings, and it was through the home side’s number ten that the Kings took the lead as two quick penalties made it 9-3.
The Jaguares duly responded through the game’s first try, the ever-dangerous Santiago Cordero splitting the defence before setting up Gonzalo Bertranou. Bonilla’s conversion made it 10-9.
A penalty for offside against the Jaguares then allowed the Kings to back ahead through Cronje’s fourth penalty.
But the home side were left down to 14 men after a knee in the back from Ross Geldenhuys was referred to the TMO, with the Kings tighthead spending ten minutes in the bin.
Bonilla’s converted the resulting penalty and another in the 34th minute to give the Jaguares some breathing space.
And more points then came despite the fly-half going off for a concussion test, thanks to his replacement Santiago González Iglesias knocking over three more points right before the break to make it 19-12 to the Jaguares at half-time.
Despite the deficit the Kings were far from out of the contest by the interval, but two Iglesias’ penalties extended the gap for the Jaguares to 13 points at 25-12.
Suddenly the Jaguares seemed to put the contest to bed with two quick tries, brilliantly executed by attacking from deep.
The first saw veteran number eight Senatore race clear after being set up by Tuculet, and the full-back soon followed him over after a brilliant chip over the top from Cordero. Both scores were converted by Iglesias to make it 39-12, seemingly putting the Jaguares out of sight.
Makazole Mapimpi did give the home crowd something to cheer as he raced clear to score the Kings first try, showing good speed, and any chance of a smooth finish to the game for the Jaguares was taken away after Felipe Ezcurra’s yellow card.
Mapimpi came close to a second score, only to be bundled into touch, as the Jaguares lost Matías Moroni to another late yellow card.
From the resulting penalty the Kings kicked to the corner and grabbed a consolation through Masixole ‘Coyi’ Banda, converted by Cronje, although it meant little in the overall context of the game.
Tries: Mapimpi, Banda
Cons: Cronje 2
Pens: Cronje 4
Yellow Card: Geldenhuys
Tries: Bertranou, Senatore, Tuculet
Cons: Bonilla, Iglesias 2
Pens: Bonilla 3, Iglesias 2
Yellow Cards: Ezcurra, Moroni
Kings: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruan Lerm, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c)
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Masixole ‘Coyi’ Banda, 23 Luzuko Vulindlu
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Felipe Arregui, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Replacments: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Cristian Bartoloni, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)