En­dan­gered Kings pile more mis­ery on Jaguares

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

A South­ern Kings team fac­ing the Su­per Rugby axe next week tri­umphed 31-30 in Buenos Aires Fri­day as a hor­ror run by the Jaguares con­tin­ued. It was the fourth win in six matches for the one-time South African whip­ping boys, and the sev­enth loss in eight games for an Ar­gen­tine out­fit who be­gan the sea­son promis­ingly.

Jaguares led 20-14 at half-time in an of­ten scrappy, er­ror-strewn round 15 tus­sle in which only pride was at stake in Es­ta­dio Jose Amal­fi­tani as nei­ther team can reach the knock­out phase.

The de­ci­sive score came nine min­utes from time when Kings winger Wandile Mjekevu scored a try which skip­per and fly-half Lionel Cronje con­verted for a six­point ad­van­tage.

Jaguares full­back Joaquin Tu­culet scored in the cor­ner to trim the gap to one point, but sub­sti­tute fly-half Joaquin Diaz Bonilla missed a con­ver­sion that would have given his side the lead.

Poor goal-kick­ing cost the Jaguares dearly as fly-half Ni­co­las Sanchez fluffed four of six shots at the posts and Bonilla was wide with his two at­tempts.

TEAM CULL NEXT WEEK

Cronje was much more suc­cess­ful, suc­ceed­ing with five of six kicks at goal as Kings tri­umphed in what could be their last Su­per Rugby match out­side South Africa. Dwin­dling crowds, shrink­ing TV au­di­ences and a for­mat that many fol­low­ers of the com­pe­ti­tion find con­fus­ing are among the rea­sons why Su­per Rugby will re­duce from 18 teams to 15 next year. South Africa have to cull two of their six teams and one Aus­tralian side among five-ei­ther Mel­bourne Rebels or West­ern Force-will also drop out. The South African rugby board plan to an­nounce the two ca­su­al­ties next Fri­day and the me­dia favourites for the chop are Kings and the Bloem­fontein­based Cen­tral Chee­tahs.

They have the poor­est over­all records and low­est crowds among the South African sides, but the re­cent form of the star-less Kings has been im­pres­sive with two of the four wins on the road.

Kings were al­ways com­pet­i­tive against a team packed with Ar­gen­tine in­ter­na­tion­als, but who lacked in­spi­ra­tional skip­per and hooker Agustin Creevy due to an in­jury.

As the se­cond half pro­gressed, the South Africans scrummed su­perbly and a pow­er­ful surge from one set-piece led to the Mjekevu try.

Kings trailed once and led twice be­fore a Sanchez try and con­ver­sion two min­utes from half-time de­liv­ered a six­point ad­van­tage to his side by the break.

An early se­cond-half try from Tu­culet stretched the lead to 25-14 — the widest gap be­tween the teams dur­ing the match. Cronje kicked a penalty and con­verted a Maka­zole Mapimpi try to leave the Kings just one point be­hind and Mjekevu then struck the de­ci­sive blow.

Cen­tre Luzuko Vulindlu, Mapimpi (two) and Mjekevu scored tries for Kings and Cronje kicked four con­ver­sions and a penalty.

Loose for­ward Juan Manuel Leguiza­mon, winger Emil­iano Bof­felli, Sanchez and Tu­culet (two) were Jaguares’ try scor­ers. Sanchez, the lead­ing points scorer at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Eng­land where Ar­gentina fin­ished fourth, kicked one con­ver­sion and one penalty. — AFP

—AFP

WELLING­TON: Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions’ Jonathan Davies is tack­led by New Zealand All Blacks’ Jerome Kaino (L), Sonny Bill Wil­liams (2nd L) and Beau­den Bar­rett (R) dur­ing their se­cond rugby union Test be­tween the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions and the New Zealand All Blacks in Welling­ton yes­ter­day.

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