Chiefs Win Historic Jaguares Encounter 30-26 In Thriller

Brad Weber has scored what will go down as a famous try to hand the Chiefs a win over the Jaguares 30-26 in a thrilling finish.

A full house and expectant home crowd packed into Estadio Jose in Bruenos Aires for the Jaguares historic first home game in Super Rugby, and the new side packed full of regular Pumas nearly pulled off something special.

Leading at the break, the Jaguares appeared to have just fallen short, before a brilliant breakaway try with three minutes remaining put the hosts in front.

But a try at the death by Brad Weber, following by a perfect kick from Damian McKenzie on the touch line, snatched victory for the Chiefs, making Weber a hero, and providing a thrilling finish to one of the best matches in Super Rugby history.

Weber can pay a lot of his historic moment to Aaron Cruden, showing all his class as an All Black regular, helping to setup the try, and creating space for Weber to run into.

The full story:

Argentine rugby is known for its power at scrum time, so perhaps it was fate that the first try the Jaguares would score at home in Argentina came from this. Jaguares captain Augistin Creevy getting the honours as the first to score a try for the club playing at home.

A handling error after the kick off saw the Jaguares early lead be quickly snatched away, quick hands by the Chiefs backline saw winger Sam MicNicol score his debut try in Super Rugby in the corner.

Damian McKenzie added a fourth try in as many matches to increase the Chiefs lead after the Jaguares coughed up possession near their own try line for the second time.

Constant penalties began to mount against the Chiefs as the Jaguares continued to play their expansive, fast-flowing, and brave style, refusing to kick possession away. All Black halfback and experienced Chiefs player Tawera Kerr-Barlow was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball on the ground and illegally taking possession away from the Jaguares.

Nicolas Sanchez’s boot saw the Jaguares kick their way back into the lead with the score 14-13 at half time.

With Aaron Cruden failing to convert on his chances in the first half, Damian McKenzie was given the kicking duties, and continued his rich vain of form with the boot to kick the Chiefs back into the lead.

The dominance that the Jaguares had in the scrum fell away, and when the handling errors continued, Chiefs midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown created a counter attack, and James Lowe was there to clutch the pass and score in the corner.

The Jaguares kept their faith in an expansive style of rugby, often attempting to run the ball out of their own goal line.

After television replays showed Martin Landojo had touched the ball down, the Jaguars were right back in the match, and it was their daring brand of rugby that had been on the script all night that turned the match on its head again.

From deep in their own half, and helped by weak tackles from Chiefs defenders, Martias Moroni raced away to score, and put the Jaguares into the lead.

With precious time remaining, the Chiefs were awarded a scrum, and after a successful execution, Aaron Cruden found space and connected with Brad Weber to score a try that put the Chiefs back in front, but only by two points.

Damian McKenzie converted from out wide, giving the Chiefs a 30-26 lead, and the win.

Score Centre

Jaguares 26

(Augistin Creevy, Martin Landojo, Martias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez 3 pen, 1 con)

Chiefs 30

(Sam McNicol, James Lowe, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie 1 try, 1 pen, 2 con, Aaron Cruden 1 pen)

All Blacks beat Pumas in well-rounded performance

Richie McCaw and Daniel Carter have farewelled Christchurch in winning fashion after the All Blacks beat Argentina 39-18 at AMI Stadium.

(Photo credit: Fox Sports via Google Images) 

In his last home game, Daniel Carter reminded his fans of the talent that has made him famous.

Carter converted tough kicks from the sideline and was a key playmaker with go forward ball. Carter connected well with Sonny Bill Williams in the midfield, and fooled the Argentine defense on multiple occasions to create space out wide for runners.

Carter scored 14 points with four conversions and two penalties.

Cody Taylor had a dream debut, picking the ball off the back of the breakdown and powering over for the try on one of his first touches as an All Black.

Pumas captain Agustin Creevy powered his way over for two tries to give his side a glimpse on the scoreboard, but a comeback never eventuated past dim hope.

By that time, the game was well in the bag for the All Blacks. Despite falling off some tackles midway through the second half, the Pumas couldn’t take any real advantage from stringing multiple phases together.

The scrum fell away for Argentina despite looking solid in the first half, and it created a lot of turnover ball for the All Blacks, something the Pumas coaches will be furious about upon reflection of this game.

Israel Dagg came into this game with some questioning his future in the black jersey.

Dagg looked calm and contained on the park, and when he was given the chance to run with the ball he always looked likely to break the line. Some brilliant passing calmness under the high ball will have Dagg feeling a little bit better about his spot in the side going forward

And in his last game at home for the All Blacks, perhaps fittingly, Richie McCaw scored the first All Blacks try of the night.

Freedom for TJ Perenara in Pumas clash

TJ Perenara will get the majority of game time against Argentina, and the 23-year old shouldn’t be under too much pressure.

(Photo credit: Zimbio via Google Images) 

Perenara may not acknowledge it, but the gap between Aaron Smith and every other halfback in world rugby is a large one, and barring any injury, will remain so well beyond the World Cup.

Perenara is a mirror image of Smith in a lot of ways, both in size and enthusiasm, and speed which can strike from the back of the scrum at any moment. Perenara is also beginning to push himself further into the minds of the NZ public as a genuine All Black starter.

Perenara got a good opportunity to test his skills at the highest level last year, achieving 11 tests for the All Blacks.

Perenara is a long way off number one halfback selection, but he is certainly in the conversation, and he will continue to warm the hearts of fans, especially in the Wellington region. Perenara will need to continue to improve this season but doesn’t need to feel any pressure to perform amazingly starting against Argentina on Friday night.

Christchurch will be a good opportunity for Perenara to show selectors that he can hold the backline together.

Perenara must pass quickly and be accurate with his box kicks as the All Blacks will look to target Argentina with the high ball in the cold conditions, expected to be around zero degrees at kickoff.

In a nutshell, Perenara just needs to do the basics well. Scoring a try will be a bonus.

Perenara has one try for the All Blacks, but his tally for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby this year suggests that will rise, if Perenara can bring his form over to the international game.

Few All Blacks have positions locked in for RWC

Some of the high-profile All Blacks who didn’t make the trip to Samoa rightly have the spotlight on them as the first home game of the year approaches.

(Photo credit: Telegraph UK via Google Images) 

Julian Savea has nothing to prove on Friday night against Argentina despite claims by some critics that he dropped the Hurricanes chance of winning Super Rugby.

Savea is one of just a few players in the All Blacks line up who doesn’t need to solidify his position on the wing.

That cannot be said for so many others in the All Blacks this year.

The RWC is going to come around fast, with the likelihood of experimentation and rotation set high, the likes of Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara now find themselves on a equal playing field with players higher up the ranks as the battle for selection heats up.

The perfect All Black side would have four starters locked in for the rest of the season, but all over positions should be open for trail in the very few games that are ahead before the RWC.

Those four players would be, Julian Savea, Conrad Smith, Richie McCaw, and Ma’a Nonu.

Some media commentators have said that Daniel Carter needs to be the regular starter at first five for the All Blacks heading into the RWC, and if this becomes a reality, that means Carter would have earned the spot by finding the form that has seen him become the benchmark kicker in rugby.

If Carter finds that form, it will spell that Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade will be bench warmers for the entire season, barring positional swapping by Steve Hansen and the selectors.

And then there is Lima Sopoaga who has put up stats have seen him become the best kicker in 2015 thus far without question.

If Carter remains fit, the challenge will be to keep the on-field form at a continual growth, because that is the only way he will be able to justify to the All Black coaches and the public that he should start come crunch time in the World Cup.