The Reds claimed a third Super Rugby win in four games on Saturday as they beat the Jaguares 18-7 at Jose Amalfitani Stadium.
Brad Thorn’s outfit held on for the four points to stay very much in the hunt for top spot in the Australian Conference, behind the Rebels.
For the Jaguares it was an error-strew performance that was unrecognisable from the form that beat the Waratahs at this venue last week.
It was a physical contest in Buenos Aires and the Reds went into the interval leading 11-7 as both sides scored one try apiece in the half.
James Tuttle moved the Reds into a 3-0 lead on three minutes after the Jaguares failed to roll away, but the hosts responded in style four minutes later with a try. It was scored by Bautista Delguy, who hit a superb inside line off Santiago Iglesias from first-phase possession.
With Nicolas Sanchez’s conversion it was 7-3 to the Jaguares but there would be no further score until the half-hour as the hits flew in.
The Reds grabbed the crucial next score and it came via a driving maul that was finished off by hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa, with scrum-half Tuttle making it 8-7 before he landed a fine long-range penalty on 36 minutes that moved the Reds into an 11-7 buffer they deserved.
The Jaguares came close to responding before the break but Samu Kerevi ripped the ball from the grasp off Delguy, who had the try-line in his sights. And it came back to haunt them eight minutes into the second-half as a breakout score saw Filipo Daugunu finish off for 18-7.
Mario Ledesma’s men were now making error after error and chances were blown, notably when a five-metre line-out went array and then a Sanchez pass to Joaquin Tuculet saw the ball spilled. The Reds somehow had kept their hosts at bay despite heavy pressure in their 22.
The trend continued moving past the hour mark and it was a controversial call from the TMO that denied Juan Martin Hernandez a try.
The Reds subsequently escaped but opted to turn down a kickable penalty that would’ve made it a two-score lead. It didn’t come back to haunt them though as despite another onslaught from the hosts which saw Juan Manuel Leguizamon kept out, the Reds held on for victory.
Tries: Paenga-Amosa, Daugunu
Pens: Tuttle 2
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Santiago Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Botta, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere
Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Duncan Paia’aua
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Pablo Deluca (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)