BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – Matias Orlando scored twice and Joaquin Diaz Bonilla kicked 14 points as the Argentine Jaguares routed the Australian ACT Brumbies 39-7 on Friday to reach their first Super Rugby final.
The South Americans scored 20 unanswered points within 20 minutes of the semi-final in Buenos Aires, led 20-7 at half-time and added three more tries during the second half.
Entering the semi-final after six straight victories, the Jaguares reacted to a 30,000 singing, clapping crowd by winning far more comfortably than expected.
Despite the long flight across the Pacific, the Brumbies were hopeful of making it to the final for a fourth time having won seven consecutive matches to reach the penultimate stage.
But they struggled in the lineouts and held an advantage only at the scrums, where they won several penalties and shoved the South Americans back several times.
Competing in Super Rugby for only the fourth season, the Jaguares will face the Canterbury Crusaders or the Wellington Hurricanes in the final next weekend.
If the Crusaders justify their season-long role of title favourites, they will stage the final in Christchurch while victory for the Hurricanes would mean Buenos Aires plays hosts.
Whoever emerges as champions, the Jaguares have been the story of the season, developing from a team that won only four of 15 matches three seasons ago to reaching the title decider.
“This is a dream come true,” said Jaguares and Argentina lock Guido Petti. “We have come a long way since a disappointing first season not too long ago.
“Each year we have improved and now we are in the final. We are looking forward to playing the Crusaders or the Hurricanes.
“It would be wonderful to have the final here at our home ground in front of such passionate supporters, but we will not fear travelling to New Zealand.”