Buenos Aires – The Sunwolves went down in a heartbreaking 46-39 loss to the Jaguares at Estadio Jose Amalfitani on Saturday as two tries in the final nine minutes put the hosts over the top.
Despite running up a club record high score and getting 24 points from Yu Tamura (the most by an individual in the franchise’s short history) the Sunwolves ran out of steam and leave Argentina with just a bonus point for losing by seven or less.
“I would like to give credit to the Jaguares for playing a really tough game,” said Sunwolves captain Timothy Lafaele.
“We wanted to play at speed but they slowed us down and some crucial mistakes let them win the game.”
Playing their fourth game on the road after three matches in New Zealand – the Sunwolves gave it everything.
But an inability to defend the driving maul and around the ruck eventually cost them in a game that saw 12 tries scored.
Will Tupou grabbed the first in the first minute, after Kotaro Matsushima’s clever kick ahead was regathered by Kenki Fukuoka, who then passed to the Sunwolves center.
Juan Martin Hernandez reduced the deficit with a penalty before Leonardo Senatore crossed following a well worked set piece as the hosts went ahead 10-7 with nine minutes on the clock.
The Sunwolves hit back in the 17th minute, when Shota Emi crossed following some outstanding work from Willie Britz.
Tamura missed the simple conversion but added a penalty in the 22nd minute as the Sunwolves took a 15-10 lead.
Good interchange between the Jaguares forwards and backs saw Emiliano Boffelli go over before 10 points from Tamura saw the Sunwolves regain the lead.
The Sunwolves flyhalf kicked a penalty and then picked up a loose ball to go over from 40 meters out.
A penalty try to the Jaguares, however, saw the teams turn around with the Sunwolves leading 25-22.
Agustin Creevy restored the hosts’ advantage with a try 11 minutes into the second half as the Jaguares put together a well-constructed driving maul.
But the Sunwolves hit back with Tamura grabbing his second try following more good work from Britz, and Sam Wykes touched down following a powerful run from Uwe Helu.
Matias Alemanno pulled a try back for the hosts to make it 39-34 in the 66th minute before Creevy and Matias Moroni went over to seal the win.
The Sunwolves still had a chance at the end to draw level but a rush of blood from Keisuke Uchida saw him opt to take a quick penalty in front of the posts rather than a scrum or line-out.
Then, following some confusion when referee Jaco van Heerden blew for time with 30 seconds remaining, the hosts eventually forced a penalty allowing them to kick the ball out and end the game.
The Sunwolves have a bye next week before flying to Singapore where they host South Africa’s Sharks in Round 13.