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)

Reaction: All Blacks victorious in wet and scrappy old night in Napier

Four tries to the All Blacks, a naked female streaker, and yet another poor performance by the referees was the order of the night at McLean Park as the men in black topped a lackluster Agrentine side. 

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Agrentina didn’t help themselves, the lost possession off a scrum which led to an All Black try that should never have happened right on the stroke of halftime absolutely destroyed the souls of every Argentine player after what they felt would have been a good position just a couple of points down at the break.

But they have nobody to blame but themselves. 

The Argentine number 8 clearly had the ball at his disposal and should have whipped it out of the back of the scrum immediately. Halfback kicks into touch, half over. Yet Argentina coughed up possession, and let the All Blacks score a fairly soft try. 

More so than any other team in world rugby, if the All Blacks have time at the scrum to turn and push, they will. Argentina should simply have known better. 

Beauden Barrett was the most talked about player heading into the game as he finally got his first start at 10.

But Barrett, apart from a couple of nifty passes, one of which set up Savea’s second try, didn’t perform to his usual high standard. 

Barrett missed more goals than he made, leading to the All Blacks subbing him off for Colin Slade at the 55 minute mark.

While All Black coach Steve Hansen says “we just wanted to give Slade a decent amount of game time” to the media, in reality the sub was made because the coaches predicted that should the game get close in the last 20, Barrett wasn’t kicking well enough for them to have confidence that he’d kick those important goals. 

This shouldn’t put the selectors off giving Beauden another start in the future though, perhaps on a more dryer night.

Julian Savea came away from an All Blacks game being the person to score the most tries yet again. This seems to be the case more and more as of late, Savea just made some brilliant decisions when he was on the ball, or expecting to receive the ball.  

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While Isreal Dagg says he was just so happy to be playing in front of his home crowd, the fullback will be walking away from the match knowing he didn’t really do much to overly impress the selectors, more so justify his position at starting full back over Ben Smith. 

None of the All Black back line really showed up apart from Savea, and at times Barrett, but given the wet and rainy conditions this cannot be too much of a surprise. 

Another All Blacks win, but yet another poor showing from the so called “top level” referees of rugby union.

Barrett and Dagg must perform tonight in the wet

The All Blacks will need to make sure the basics are done well this evening at a packed out McLean Park. 

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It cannot be understated that tonight is going to be a crucial night for the career of one Beauden Barrett. Despite his amazing form, Barrett simply must deliver at first five this evening.

If it rains like forecasted, goal kicking could be where the game is won or lost. Barrett’s credibility as an All Black starter cannot be questioned, but even the man himself has spoken out in the media this week saying he does feel the pressure of the occasion. 

Many do feel that the Hurricanes first five is already deserving enough of the 10 All Black jersey, but nevertheless Barrett needs to do his job and do it well tonight. 

Another exciting change in the lineup is the return of Israel Dagg to the fullback position. 

Fresh off winning the Shield last week with Hawkes Bay, Dagg walks into his first home test in his native Napier under some intense pressure. Based on form, Ben Smith has been streaks ahead of Dagg for the past two seasons.

It is absolutely imperative that Isreal Dagg injects himself into the game and not hold back. If he sees a chance to run with the ball, he needs to do so. Running rugby will be difficult enough in the wet conditions so his punting game will also need to be to its usual high standard as the All Blacks will no doubt kick for territory if the rain does arrive. 

From an Argentina perspective, there is no doubting that this is a rugby nation which is quickly becoming a force to not be overlooked.

The Argentines should have beaten the Springboks last weekend, and they have arrived in New Zealand heavily talking up their chances of knocking the All Blacks over.

All Black skipper Richie McCaw commented that his side will need to be patient early on in the match.

The forward pack is always talked about when Argentina play the All Blacks, but the Argentines have talked about tackling low in the media this week, their plan is to stop any All Black from breaking through the line with some powerful and committed defense. 

If you look at the history, Argentina versus All Blacks games played in New Zealand have always been relatively close on the scoreboard. McCaw has said he expects that trend to continue tonight. 

The All Blacks to win tonight. Barrett and Dagg both must perform, no matter what the conditions.