Jaguares wrapped up second place on the overall Super Rugby table after they beat the Sunwolves 52-10 at Jose Amalfitani Stadium on Friday.
This triumph sees them join the Crusaders as being on the verge of playing a semi at home should they win their quarter-final next weekend.
Santiago Carreras, Sebastian Cancelliere (2), Julian Montoya, Juan Cruz Mallia, Matias Moroni and Javier Ortega Desio crossed for the hosts, while they were also awarded a penalty try. Domingo Miotti kicked 10 points while for the Sunwolves, Gerhard van den Heever and Semisi Masirewa scored as they brought the curtain down on a hugely disappointing season.
Jaguares came into this game having won eight of their previous nine matches, with confidence sky high at the much improved Argentine outfit.
While mass changes were made for the match against Super Rugby’s basement side, the hosts knew that a win would seal a home route the final.
Once again their defence impressed early on as the Sunwolves were suffocated, with the Jaguares then going up the other end of the field to go over via Carreras, this after a strong carry and offload from flanker Tomas Lezana. With Miotti’s solid conversion they were 7-0 in front.
Sunwolves, to their credit, didn’t roll over and actually hit back on 28 minutes after loose Jaguares ball near halfway was snapped up and wing Van den Heever did well to chip and regather for a much-needed score wide out that was unconverted. It was a deserved crossing for the visitors.
Jaguares, however, were then gifted seven points when Sunwolves hooker Nathan Vella’s pass was intercepted by Cancelliere, who strolled to the posts.
— JaguaresARG (@JaguaresARG) June 14, 2019
It was a case hero to villain for Masirewa soon after as before the break his finish thanks to a fine offload from flanker Shuhei Matsuhashi saw him cross the whitewash, but then a deliberate slap down a minute later coughed up a penalty try and also saw him given a yellow card.
21-10 became 26-10 barely a minute into the second period when a powerful Jaguares maul from 40 metres out led to Montoya splitting off and sprinting over. He would have been upset to not pick up his brace four minutes later though when he dropped the ball at the back of another strong maul.
It mattered not for Jaguares as a rampaging Guido Petti set up Mallia on 57 minutes for a try that made it 33-10, before Moroni extended the margin to 30 points with a try on the right wing. The procession continued moments later when Desio’s unconverted try made it a 45-10 lead.
They weren’t done there too as a breakout would see Cancelliere claim his second try of the match to rubber-stamp a comprehensive home win.