Jaguares pounce in second-half
The Melbourne Rebels showed plenty of spirit and fight in their final game of the season before they went down to the Jaguares 32-29 at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Friday.
After a blistering first-half from the hosts, led by 19 points from Reece Hodge, the Jaguares overhauled a nine-point half-time deficit to claim victory in the first ever meeting between the two sides.
Spurred on by Mitch Inman’s 100th Super Rugby appearance and Toby Smith’s 50th Rebels game, the hosts raced out to a 19-10 lead at the break courtesy of a try, conversion and four penalties from Hodge.
The super boot of Hodge was on target early to give the Rebels a 6-0 lead after five minutes before the visitors hit the scoreboard through fly half Nicolas Sanchez to cut the margin in half.
Midway through the first-half, Hodge scored his fourth try of the season when he combined with rising star Jack Maddocks to finish a perfectly executed set piece try to extend the host’s lead 16-3.
The visitors responded when winger Santiago Cordero scored his first of his two tries of the night on the 33rd minute to peg the deficit to 16-10 after a successful conversion from Nicolas Sanchez.
Hodge sent his side to the break with a 19-10 lead with a penalty three minutes before the break.
The Jaguares struck first after the restart through the boot of Sanchez on the 48th minute to make the score 19-13 before Hodge responded seven minutes later, with a long bomb.
Hodge nervously watched his penalty from 55 metres out hit the crossbar and bounced over to restore his side’s nine-point advantage.
The visitors claimed the lead with 19 unanswered points in 14-minutes when substitute Gonzalo Bertranou, Guido Petti and Cordero crossed to give the Jaguares a 30-22 lead with eight minutes to play.
Rebels lock Steve Cummins capped off a memorable season with his first career try with the final play of the season.
Cummins, who is one of just three players to start every game this season, dived over in the final minute to make the scores 32-27.
Scrumhalf Ben Meehan, in his final game for the club before his departure to English Premiership club London Irish, had the honour of taking the conversion and made no mistake from the touchline.
Jaguares: 32 (Cordero 2, Petti, Bertranou tries; Sanchez 2, Hernandez con; Sanchez 2 pens) defeated Melbourne Rebels 29 (Hodge, Cummins tries; Hodge, Meehan con; Hodge 5 pens)