Chiefs beat Jaguares in thriller

Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs (R) is challenged by the Jaguares' Ramiro Moyano. Photo: Getty
Damian McKenzie of the Chiefs (R) is challenged by the Jaguares' Ramiro Moyano. Photo: Getty
What a difference two weeks can make.

Without a win through five rounds and heading out on the road, many Super Rugby fans had written the Chiefs off. But after decimating the Bulls in Pretoria, the Chiefs have gone back to back with a 30-27 win over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

It's a case of better late than never for the Chiefs, who have taken a lot longer than planned to show up to the party. But after impressing in Pretoria last time out, they showed signs that they could yet be a contender for a playoff spot, with a win in Argentina.

"We're heading the right way, but we're still not quite where we want to be," captain Michael Allardice said after the match.

After a messy start to the game the Chiefs found their rhythm, with Damian and Marty McKenzie orchestrating a dynamic first half attacking performance to lay the platform for the win.

It wasn't without concerns however, as the Chiefs relinquished a 17-6 halftime lead to trail by four points inside the final three minutes of the game.

Midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown, who missed last weekend's game against the Bulls through injury, came up with a massive chargedown in-goal to force a Chiefs scrum 5m from the tryline, which led to the game winning try from Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.

There might have been a few nervous Chiefs fans early in the match as well as the Jaguares forced the visitors to do plenty of defending close to their own line. The Chiefs showed a much improved defensive structure from the season's early rounds, only conceding a couple of penalties.

But after the 10 minute arm wrestle to open the game, the Chiefs began to string a few phases together and spread the ball through the hands to launch their dangerous running game.

The Jaguares weren't helped by their discipline in the early stages, with a penalty inside their own 10 leading to the opening try to Damian McKenzie. Tumua Manu crossed soon after, when Marty McKenzie played a hopeful chip kick under advantage which ricocheted off the post into Manu's arms.

The result didn't come without concern, however. Despite leading 17-6 at the break, the Chiefs leaked points early in the second half to find themselves tied at 20 with as many minutes left to play in the match.

The Chiefs took the lead through a Damian McKenzie penalty, but when Matias Orlando scored inside the final 10 minutes, the visitors needed something special to steal the points.

They got it through Lienert-Brown, whose late charge-down on an attempted Jaguares clearance from their own in-goal area set up Tahuriorangi's match-winner.

Chiefs 30 (Damian McKenzie, Tumua Manu, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi tries; McKenzie 3 cons, 3 pens), Jaguares 27 (Joaquin Tuculet, Pablo Matera, Matias Orlando tries; Joaquin Diaz Bonilla 3 cons, 2 pens). HT: 17-6

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