Jaguares break Rebel hearts - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Jaguares break Rebel hearts

Jaguares break Rebel hearts

The Jaguareshave broken the hearts of Rebel fans, prevailing 32 – 29 at AAMI Park.

The Rebels led for approximately 80% of the match but unfortunately were not able to close out the match and were over run by the Jaguares. Both sides played an attacking brand of rugby with the kicking game synonymous with the Tony McGahan years virtually non-existent.

The night started with the Rebels acknowledging their foundation members with a pre-game lap of AAMI Park. (hopefully, it was not a farewell lap).

First Half 

It was fitting that the first meaningful contribution of the match was a damaging run from the milestone man 100 gamer Mitch Inman after receiving a great pass from Reece Hodge. Shortly after the Jaguares were penalised for being offside and Hodge put the Rebels in front 3-0.

Nic Stirzaker created another attacking opportunity with a dart down the blind side, which created the opportunity to spread the ball through Toby Smith, Hodge, Inman and Jack Maddocks, and resulted in Marika Koroibete with the ball on the wing. After making 20 metres Koroibete flung the ball back inside as he headed into touch. Maddocks got a toe on the ball and Jaguares full back Joaquin Tuculet dived on the ball.  Sadly, Maddocks was penalised for diving on a player who was on the ground.

The Rebels received another penalty for players being in front of the kicker and Hodge shot at penalty goal totally confused the assistant referees. The TMO was called into action and the three points were awarded to the Rebels.

The Rebels lost an attacking line out with Leonardo Senatore stealing it. The Jaguares marched the ball down field with ease through Agustin Creevy, Guido Petti, Nahuel Tetez Chaparro Rodrigo Baez, Matias Moroni and Senatore. Lopeti Timani then caught Nicolas Sanchez high and Sanchez made no mistake with the penalty from 25 metres out directly in front to get the Jaguares on the board.

The Rebels lost another attacking line out with Senatore again the thief. The Rebels received another penalty and Angus Gardner had a chat to Jaguares captain Agustin Creevy and Hodge made the score 9 to 3.

Hooker Creevy made a break and put in a chip kick. However,  he was called back for a forward pass.

From the midfield scrum on the Rebels side of halfway, the Rebels put on a set play. Stirzaker ran at an angle passed to Hodge who was cutting back inside, Hodge then passed to promising full back Jack Maddocks who made a break of 30 metres. Maddocks then passed back to Hodge who ran the remaining 25 metres and went over for a try, which he duly converted to give the Rebels a 16-3 lead.

The Jaguares’ execution was somewhat sloppy in the first thirty minutes.

After a knock on by Laurie Weeks and some good runs from Pablo Matera and Emiliano Boffelli, Nicolas Sanchez made a run for the line and looked like he was going to score the Jaguares’ first try. However, Maddocks had other ideas laying a try saving tackle. Sanchez was originally short of the line and when he rolled over the line Maddocks was able to hold him up.

The Jaguares did not have to wait long to score a try with Leonardo Senatore picking the ball up from the base of the scrum and passing to Martin Landajo who sent Santiago Cordero over in the corner. Sanchez converted to reduce Rebel lead to 16 to 10.

Colby Fainga’a won a penalty at the breakdown for Creevy not releasing but Hodge missed the shot at goal.

From the 22 metre restart, Amanaki Mafi received a pass and blew a hole in the Jaguares line making 30 metres before offloading to Maddocks. The Jaguares were penalised again this time for taking the half back out. Hodge kicked the penalty, and score 19-10.

In the shadows of half time, the Rebels were penalised for collapsing a maul. The Jaguares tried another maul after the siren but the Rebels were able to shut it down.

Half time Rebels (in fact Reece Hodge) 19 led Jaguares 10.

Second Half 

Marika Koroibete made a break down the wing after a great pass from Jackson Garden-Bachop. Koroibete then threw the ball inside to Maddocks, who after a good run threw a speculative pass that was gratefully accepted by Nicolas Sanchez.

James Hanson conceded a penalty for playing the ball from the ground. Amanaki Mafi was then penalised for being offside. Sanchez added 3 more points, Rebels leading 19-13.

A strong run from Guido Petti from the kickoff and good contributions from Bautista Ezcurra, Emiliano Boffelli and Leonardo Senatore saw the Jaguares gain 50 metres. A desperate tackle from Maddocks forced a knock on from Boffelli.

Mafi then made a thirty-metre run and provided a brilliant one handed offload to Maddocks. Unfortunately, Maddocks threw a flick pass which found a Jaguares jersey. The Jaguares then went on the attack following a penalty.  The Jaguares went within metres of the line but the Rebels were able to hold firm.

Colby Fainga’a then created a penalty at the breakdown for Landajo not releasing the ball. Superboot Hodge both won the crossbar challenge and notched a penalty goal from 55 metres. Rebels 22 to 13.

Jaguares were attacking and had numbers on the outside but Garden-Bachop intercepted a pass from Gonzalo Bertranou. Shortly after Toby Smith threw a ball to Sanchez, who was tackled on the 22 by Koroibete and Maddocks. However, Sanchez provided a wonderful pass from the ground to Guido Petti, who was too big and powerful for Garden-Bachop and scored a try. Sanchez’s conversion reduced the Rebels margin to two points.

Hodge threw a dummy and made a line break on halfway but Maddocks dropped the pass under pressure from Cordero.

Creevy stole the ball from Lopeti Timani at the breakdown which after some quick passing sent Boffelli down the touch line. Boffelli put in a kick which went into the in goal. The Jaguares received a scrum for an incorrect kick at the restart. Gonzalo Bertranou scored following the scrum to put the Jaguares in front for the first time 25-22.

A brilliant cross field kick from Juan Martin Hernandez set up Cordero’s second try. Hernandez’s conversion pushed the Jaguares to a 32-22 lead with less than 10 minutes to play.

The Rebels weren’t able to make any dents in the Jaguares defence until some razzle dazzle after the siren which resulted in Steve Cummins scoring his first Super Rugby try. Departing scrum half Ben Meehan worked the crowd into a frenzy prior to and after he kicked the conversion.


The Game Changer

The loose pass by Toby Smith to Nicolas Sanchez who then set up Guido Petti for a try was the moment where the momentum of the game changed.


Jaguares winger Emiliano Boffelli ran for 104 metres from 12 carries made 6 clean breaks and beat 3 defenders.

Wallaby Watch

Reece Hodge was at his brilliant best setting up and creating a number of line breaks. He scored a try and scored a total of 22 points for the night including his 100th point of the season. Sean McMahon was solid in his return from injury and Lopeti Timani made some big hits in defence.

The Details

Score & Scorers

Rebels 29
Tries: Reece Hodge, Steve Cummins
Conversions: Reece Hodge, Ben Meehan
Penalties: Reece Hodge 5
Jaguares 32
Tries: Santiago Cordero 2, Guido Petti, Gonzalo Bertranou
Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez 2, Juan Martin Hernandez
Penalties: Nicolas Sanchez 2




There were almost more Foundation members on their lap than there were people in the rest of the crowd.


  • Who?

    I missed the second half, but the Rebels were fantastic in the first half. But the moment of the first half was when Gardiner warned Creevy for repeated offenses. “Agustin, we’ve been down here twice, and you’ve given away four penalties. We can’t keep having these penalties.” “But sir, it’s only offside…” Gold, Agustin, gold!!! :-D
    Very sorry the Rebels couldn’t take the win. :-(

  • Bobas

    Rebels ran out of puff after the 60th minute. Understandable when 9 of their starters had to prove their match fitness before the game, from my experience I think that’s a 13 in the beep test but each club could be different.

    Maddocks has a great read on the game, he will be amazing if he’s developed properly (if he even has room to develop properly).

    Meehan should have come on earlier, Stirzaker did himself no favors.

    While I don’t want to see either the Force or the Rebels go it seems as that’s the only decision they’ve made and living in Melbourne means I’m hoping that they’re around next season.

  • Keith Butler

    A game we should have won but lost through bad decision making and stupid errors. If the Rebels do survive who ever is looking after recruiting needs to get a decent 10 asap. Garden -Bachop must be the most one dimensional 10 I’ve ever seen ponderous on attack, no attacking flair whatsoever, no variations in pass just shovels the ball to the nearest player. Scrum will be in serious trouble when Smith goes although with Parling and Cummins, who had a pretty good game, we will at least have a linout that functions providing Hanson can get his throwing right.

  • Andrew Luscombe

    The razzle dazzle at the end was about 45 seconds of offloads and keeping it alive through maybe 10 tackles. Not sure I’ve seen play like that for that long before. A lot of determination by the Rebels to finish the season on a positive note.

  • Alister Smith

    Back posting but only briefly. Rugby in Australia, in my opinion, has now reached a tipping point. I attend juniors in metropolitan areas regularly and things look reasonably healthy there although I am happy to be challenged on that point. Sydney and Brisbane club games (at least a premier/shute level) look well attended but I am not sure about overall player numbers. I suspect country and regional rugby is under pressure – all sports in these areas are under pressure. And elsewhere from the provincial level up, in just about every aspect of the game, we are under severe pressure. We have three home grown head coaches, Nick Stiles, Steve Larkham (departing – replaced by another Australian) and Tony McGahan (departing – replacement unknown). While we severely lack playing depth our lack of depth in coaching seems even greater. We are operating in a competition that doesn’t appear to attract audiences anymore and that is exacerbated by our own poor performance. Even our best players seem to lack for consistency of skill, particularly when challenged by high quality defenses (though sometimes that lack skill against poorer quality defenses too). The speed of the decline in our performance has been rapid.
    I believe, as soon as this season is finished, the ARU need to institute a root and branch enquiry, under an independent person (John Howard comes to mind for me – i may get disagreement but someone who has successfully run an organisation/institution/country and is beyond the influence of anyone in the game with a vested interest – and we all have a vested interest) to look at every level and all aspects of the game in Australia. To answer questions about how we grow the game here, how we establish the right structures and build/re-build this game from the ground up. Internationally, the game looks to be as healthy as it ever has and opportunities like inclusion in the Olympics give us advantages over other rival codes. Every aspect needs to be looked at and, with limited funding available, and dollar spent by the ARU etc needs to be justified. the very structure of the ARU and how the game is administered at state/province/Super Rugby franchise/nationally needs to be evaluated. We can’t keep our heads in the sand any longer.

    • Alister Smith

      If not John Howard than maybe John Keyes

    • Keith Butler

      Howard is only interested in cricket.

      • Alister Smith

        Agreed Keith but that is part of the issue. If we get anyone who is already in the game they bring their own vested interested through the club they played for or are now president of. the school they went, to the super rugby side they coached. There are plenty of experts that the head of the investigation can rely on for expert opinion for both or multiple sides of all the arguments. What they need is a strategic thinker with great governance skills who can wade through all the information and come up with a workable structure to take all aspects of the game forward. For mine, one of the first things we need is to get rugby played more often in non-traditional schools. For most of the corporate blokes (and I have that background myself) they will be working on the 80:20 rule and trying to identify that top 20% of young athletes and focusing the resources on them. Part of the trouble with that every other competing sport, whether it be athletics, cricket, rugby league or AFL is working to capture that 20. We can make greater gains by broadening our outlook. What our teams particularly seem to lack at the top level is those youngster who aren’t necessarily the most talent but work their arses off to develop the skills they need to succeed. In any case, I would like us to be a bigger participation sport and the stuff at the top end can look after itself then. Back to my original point, I think we need an independent person able to coalesce a vision and put in place the structures to get us there – someone able to stand up to all the vested interests and listen to all of them (because they all have great ideas) but who in the end is tough enough to be able to decide what is best for the game and not just what is best for each silo within it.

        • Nick

          Hopefully the game can rejuvenate itself in Australia. Interesting take Alister. I’d be all for it.

  • Andrew Miller

    It would have been absolutely delicious if the rebels had beaten the Jags and a few more fans had turned up. What was the weather like in Melbourne? Are rebels supporters complacent or resigned?

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