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Bulls end Jaguares’ winning streak after 11 try fest

 

PRETORIA – The Jaguares’ seven-match Super Rugby winning run ended Saturday in a 43-34 loss to Northern Bulls after an 11-try festival in Pretoria.

Defeat virtually ended Argentine dreams of winning the South African conference and a late conversion rebounded off the post, robbing them of even a bonus point.

The result left the Jaguares three points behind leaders the Golden Lions, who will win the conference for a third consecutive time if they beat the Bulls in Johannesburg next Saturday.

NSW Waratahs posted a record score as they clinched the Australian conference while Wellington Hurricanes beat Auckland Blues to all but ensure a home quarter-final.

The Waratahs crushed the Sunwolves 77-25 in Sydney, scoring 12 tries to three against the under-manned Japanese team, while the Hurricanes downed the Blues 42-24 in Wellington.

READ: Jaguares eye history after seventh straight triumph

The bonus-point win ended the Canes’ the three-match losing streak and lifted them five points clear of Waikato Chiefs, who retained a faint mathematical chance of hosting a quarter-final when they held off fast-finishing ACT Brumbies to win 24-19.

The Jaguares started brilliantly and scored three tries to build a 19-point lead after 20 minutes before the Bulls responded with three of their own to lead 21-19 at half-time.

The Buenos Aires outfit briefly regained the lead through a second try from Gonzalo Bertranou before being run ragged by the Bulls.

Jamba Ulengo scored two tries and Marco van Staden one to put the Pretoria team 14 points ahead before Emiliano Boffelli failed to convert after skipper Pablo Matera scored.

TV analyst and Springbok legend Victor Matfield described the match as “fantastic with second-half turnovers giving Bulls the edge”.

It was the Bulls’ first win in four matches and avenged a 30-point hiding in Argentina two months ago.

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The Waratahs’ biggest score in Super Rugby came after the Sunwolves led 18-12 in the first 30 minutes before the game swung on the red carding of centre Semisi Masirewa for a late lifting tackle on Bernard Foley.

The Tahs led 24-18 at half-time but went on a second-half rampage, adding 53 points to the Sunwolves’ seven.

Wallabies full-back Israel Folau returned from his one-match suspension to score a try double, while hulking winger Taqele Naiyaravoro went over for a brace.

– Foley brings up 900 points –

Foley kicked seven conversions and a penalty for 17 points and along the way brought up 900 career points for the Waratahs.

Powerful Ngani Laumape, known as the “Mini Bus” alongside his former All Blacks team-mate Julian “The Bus” Savea, scored four tries as the Hurricanes outscored the Blues six tries to three.

After falling to the Brumbies last week, Hurricanes need to make an emphatic statement to display their play-off credentials and did so in the form of pocket-rocket Laumape.

The 1.71-metre, 103-kilogramme (5ft 7in, 227lb) centre was near unstoppable when he took a head-on approach.

READ: Bulls grind out 28-10 victory over Rebels

The Hurricanes and Chiefs clash next week in the final round of the regular season, which will determine which side finishes fourth.

Damian McKenzie orchestrated the Chiefs’ win over the hard-finishing Brumbies in Hamilton.

The Brumbies, down 24-5 with 15 minutes to play, provided a storming finish which had the Chiefs rattled, but it was too little, too late.

“I’m proud of the boys, they stayed in there right to the end,” relieved Chiefs skipper Charlie Ngatai said.

“We talked about starting strong. We did that, but we were a bit slow in the second.”

While the Brumbies made costly errors in the first half, the Chiefs had McKenzie in impeccable form.

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The All Blacks fly-half opened the scoring with a penalty and his ability to slip through the merest gap set up Nathan Harris for the Chiefs’ first try.

McKenzie finished the half by electing to run when the Chiefs won turnover ball on their own line and was on hand to finish off the end-to-end move with a try.

Henry Speight scored in the corner to get the Brumbies on the board only for the Chiefs to reply with a McKenzie intercept that started another length-of-the-field move for Johnny Faauli to score.

Tom Banks and Speight scored late tries for the Brumbies who were heading towards the tryline again, with time on the clock, when a penalty allowed the Chiefs to put the ball out and claim the win.

 

AFP

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