By Rex Gowar
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Sharks cracked Jaguares’ unbeaten home record with a 33-25 victory to consolidate second place in Super Rugby’s Africa 2 conference in a tight contest at Velez Sarsfield on Saturday.
The teams shared a 3-3 try count with Sharks flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicking 18 points, his fourth successful penalty after the 80th-minute hooter denying the Argentine side a bonus point.
The Sharks made a flying start with a try in the second minute by flanker Phillip van der Walt after the Jaguares failed to keep possession from the South African side’s kickoff.
Jaguares played their way back into the match in the second quarter after scoring their first points from a Nicolas Sanchez penalty and visiting scrumhalf Michael Claassens was sent to the sin bin.
Two tries in quick succession by fullback Joaquin Tuculet and centre Matias Orlando saw the Argentine side take a 20-13 lead.
However, a long kick for touch by Sanchez deep into Sharks territory bounced favourably for fullback Rhyno Smith, who set off on a fast, swerving run avoiding tackles until he was brought down 10 metres from the Jaguares line.
Replacement lock Etienne Oosthuizen then broke from a ruck to go over for the South African side’s second try, leaving the teams level at 20-20 at halftime.
Prop Thomas du Toit broke the deadlock 11 minutes into the second half when Oosthuizen broke out of a ruck and sent him over.
Another Bosch penalty 10 minutes later from the touchline increased Sharks’ lead before Tuculet fielded his own kick ahead, broke free of two tackles and fed wing Bautista Ezcurra, who scored in the corner.
Jaguares fell to a fourth consecutive defeat having made a fine start to their second season in the competition with four wins in their opening five matches.
They made too many mistakes as they sought a fourth try that could have turned the match their way in a disappointing second-half performance in front of a home crowd of 10,000.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)