Rugby2019

Rugby: Sunwolves hammered by Jaguares in final game of season

Rugby: Sunwolves hammered by Jaguares in final game of season

The Sunwolves' 2019 Super Rugby season came to a close Saturday with a 52-10 defeat at the hands of the Jaguares at Buenos Aires' Estadio Jose Amalfitani. A yellow card to Semisi Masirewa and then injuries to both hookers meant the Sunwolves played the entire second half with 14 players and the Jaguares, who had already clinched the South African Conference, took full advantage. The visitors started brightly but the indiscipline that has blighted their season allowed the Jaguares to make up for their lack of possession. And the hosts made the most of the Sunwolves' generosity with Santiago Carreras crossing in the corner in the 11th minute as the hosts cleverly mixed up their point of attack. Both teams then struggled to exert authority for the next 17 minutes as defense was the order of the day, until the Sunwolves pulled out a cracker. Conan O'Donnell did well to scoop up a loose pass and Gerhard van den Heever finished things off 50 meters downfield following a good chip and chase. With their heads up, the Sunwolves started putting some phases together but their good work was undone when a poor pass from Nathan Vella allowed Sebastian Cancelliere to pick off an easy intercept in the 33rd minute. However, they struck back immediately when a great offload from Shuhei Matsuhashi saw Semisi Masirewa go over for his 11th try of the season. Masirewa quickly went from hero to villain, however, as a deliberate knock-on just before the halftime hooter handed the Jaguares a penalty try (and the Sunwolves fullback a yellow card) as the teams turned around with the hosts leading 21-10. (Semisi Masirewa (L) of the Sunwolves scores a try during a match between Jaguares and Sunwolves.)[Getty/Kyodo] Down to 14 men, the Sunwolves conceded a try within 60 seconds of the second half starting when Julian Montoya finished off a superb driving maul from the Jaguares pack. With hookers Vella and Jaba Bregvadze both injured, the Sunwolves then lost another player as a sanction for being unable to contest scrums. That saw Hayden Parker line up at lock in the uncontested set pieces and forced Takuma Asahara to throw in at line-outs. And the Jaguares made the most of their numerical advantage and the visitors' confusion with Juan Cruz, Mallia Matias Moroni, Javier Ortega Desio and Cancelliere all crossing the chalk to bring up the half century. The Sunwolves finish their campaign with just two wins and 14 losses, while the Jaguares finish the regular season in second spot in the overall standings and have a home field playoff to look forward to next week.

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