Chiefs spoil Jaguares' Super Rugby home opener with win
Replacement Brad Weber's try in the 78th minute gave New Zealand's Chiefs a 30-26 win over the Jaquares on Saturday, spoiling the Argentinian side's first-ever Super Rugby home match at a boisterous Velez Sarsfield stadium.
After the Jaquares had scored two tries in three minutes to take the lead, Weber crossed to put the visitors ahead for the final time. His score came minutes after replacement Matias Moroni had run nearly 90 meters, breaking several tackles, to give the home side the lead.
The Chiefs improved to 3-1 on the season and took over first place in the New Zealand conference, while the Jaguares fell to 1-2 but picked up a bonus point.
With most of the sideline seats filled in the 49,000-capacity stadium, Pumas veteran and team captain Agustin Creevy scored the first try of the match to give the Jaguares an 8-3 lead.
The Chiefs then went ahead 13-8 on an unconverted try when fullback Damien McKenzie crossed following a lineout. Flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kicked his third penalty of the half to give the home side a 14-13 lead after 40 minutes.
An Aaron Cruden penalty goal put the Chiefs ahead seven minutes into the second half and James Lowe's try and McKenzie's conversion gave the visitors a 23-14 advantage before the Jaguares' comeback attempt.
The match was the last of six in Super Rugby across five countries and four continents on Saturday.
In Cape Town, South Africa, the Stormers made the most of Josh Mann-Rea's sending off as they ran in two late tries to beat the ACT Brumbies 31-11.
The Brumbies trailed by just five points when Mann-Rea was given a red card for throwing an elbow in the 64th minute, but the Stormers capitalized on his dismissal with tries by Dillyn Leyds and Vincent Koch to consign the visitors to their first defeat of the season.
"It was a disappointing finish to the game because we were right in it up until the red card," Brumbies captain Stephen Moore said. "Our discipline wasn't good throughout the game."
The result lifted the Stormers to second in the South African group, a point behind the Sharks, who are now the only unbeaten team after the competition's first four rounds.
The Lions are a further point back in third after flyhalf Elton Jantjies guided them to their third win in four games with an all-around performance.
Jantjies created two tries and scored a third as the Lions beat the Cheetahs 39-22 in a South African derby in Johannesburg. He also converted three of the Lions' five tries and slotted two penalties for a match haul of 17 points.
At Tokyo in the first match of the day, the Melbourne Rebels overpowered the Sunwolves 35-9, denying the Japan-based team its first win. Ben Meehan, Tom English, and Sean McMahon scored second-half tries as the Rebels improved to 3-1 after four rounds.
"The boys put in a real performance down our end, defending hard, and it really got us through in the end," Melbourne captain Sean McMahon said.
At Christchurch, New Zealand, winger Nemani Nadolo scored two tries and had a role in several others as the Crusaders beat South Africa's Kings 57-24.
And in Brisbane, Australia, flyhalf Ihaia West kicked a penalty four minutes after time expired as the Auckland-based Blues came from 25-15 down in the last six minutes to draw 25-25 with Queensland, leaving the Reds winless after four matches. West also scored a first-half try for the Blues.
It was the second draw of the weekend after the Bulls and Sharks finished at 16-16 in Pretoria, leaving the Sharks as the only team without a loss after four rounds.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP)