Jaguares beat Blues for 1st win against any New Zealand team
AUCKLAND, New Zealand (AP) — Argentina's Jaguares rallied from 13-5 down at halftime to beat the Auckland-based Blues 20-13 in Super Rugby on Saturday for their first win over a New Zealand team.
The Jaguares won in New Zealand with a forward performance which wrecked the Blues' scrum, damaged their lineout and allowed them to overwhelmingly dominate territory and possession in a rain-soaked match. They also received twice as many penalties as the indisciplined Blues but took time to turn all those advantages into a historic win.
The Jaguares scored an early try through captain Agustin Creevy when the Blues lost backrower Akira Ioane to the sin-bin for a professional foul.
The Blues also scored when Ioane was absent to make the score 5-5, then led with a try to fullback Matt Duffie.
"We are very happy," captain Joaquin Tuculet said. "We worked very hard this week, we knew they had a tough team but we played well and won the game. I thought the forwards were amazing, the scrum was very good so I think the win was for them."
In another match Saturday, the Crusaders beat the ACT Brumbies 21-8.
Earlier Saturday, the Queensland Reds snapped an embarrassing run of losses by Australian teams to overseas opponents when they beat last year's finalist the Lions 27-22.
All four Australian teams were beaten by foreign rivals in last weekend's 10th round, and the 11th round began in similar fashion when the Melbourne Rebels lost 34-18 to the Stormers in Cape Town.
But the Reds, the Australian team least expected to end the streak after losing its last four games, put a stop to the Lions' mid-season form improvement.
Their first try came after only two minutes to prop Jean-Pierre Smith from a rolling maul and they scored three more, to backrower Caleb Timu, hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and veteran flanker George Smith, to lead 24-0 at halftime.
An early second-half penalty made the lead 27-0 and the Reds were well-placed to resist an inevitable Lions rally. The Johannesburg-based team hit back with two tries to Malcolm Marx — his third double of the season — to make the score 27-12 after 62 minutes and added two more tries to Marnus Schoeman.
"I guess it was a surprise for some after last week (when the Reds lost 36-12 at home to the Hamilton-based Chiefs) but it wasn't a surprise for us because of the hard work we've been doing," Reds captain Samu Kerevi said. "We knew we could put out a performance like that."
The Lions entered the match in strong form after back-to-back wins over the Stormers and Waratahs but were unable to assert themselves early Saturday against a strong Reds defense.
"I don't think there was complacency, I think they wanted it more than us," Lions captain Francois Mostert said.