Noble Rebels fall short against improving Jaguares

Geoff Parkes Columnist

By Geoff Parkes, Geoff Parkes is a Roar Expert

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30 Have your say

    The Jaguares have finished their 2017 Super Rugby season – and their Australian tour – on a high, claiming a 32-29 win against a brave Rebels side in Melbourne.

    In a season that promised so much early on, the Jaguares fell away mid season, to drop out of finals contention. However they have finished off the season in fine style, winning the first ever encounter between these sides.

    The Rebels came out keen to move the ball early and had much the better of the first half, Reece Hodge keeping the scoreboard ticking over, as well as adding a sparkling try in the 25th minute. It was something local fans had seen too little of this season, Nic Stirzaker working a set move off a scrum with impressive full back Jack Maddocks, who sent Hodge racing away for the score.

    The Rebels could have been further ahead at the break, if not for their Achilles heel this year, the attacking lineout, letting them down when in scoring positions. Failure to maintain pressure in the attacking 22 and come away with points, is a killer at this level.

    To their credit the Jaguars stayed in contact, and then ramped things up in the third quarter, both in defence and attack. A series of tries came on the left hand flank, plus one on the right, after a pinpoint kick pass from the experienced Juan Martin Hernandez.

    Their defensive line got stronger as the match progressed, and by the time the substitutions came on, the Rebels had run out of ideas.

    The Rebels will wonder how they fell away so much in the second half, the only highlights being a spectacular 55m penalty to Hodge and a try after the siren to the hardworking Steve Cummins. Unfortunately they were unable to get the ball to Marieke Koroibete, who looked thirsty for more work.

    The biggest cheer was reserved for Amanaki Mafi, as he was replaced, the Rebels’ player of the season once again into everything. Outgoing coach Tony McGahan gave Mafi a huge wrap after the match; every bit of it fully deserved for a player

    Full credit however to the Jaguares, who win successive games on the road for the first time, and who finish the season full of promise for another step up the competition ladder next year.

    Perhaps the off season will allow them to do more work on the discipline. It was poor again in the first half tonight, although Angus Gardner leniently kept his cards in his pocket.

    As for the Rebels, their next moves will come via the boardrooms and legal offices. Hopefully the single, lame firework that marked the end of the match isn’t a sign of things to come! But at least the 6,250 fans who showed up tonight will have taken good heart from a spirited effort from their side, even if the season hasn’t quite worked out as planned.

    Final score
    Jaguares 32
    Rebels 29

    Geoff Parkes
    Geoff Parkes

    Geoff is a Melbourne-based sports fanatic and writer who started contributing to The Roar in 2012 under the pen name Allanthus. His first book, A World in Union Conflict; The Global Battle For Rugby Supremacy, was released in December 2017 to critical acclaim. For details on the book visit Meanwhile, his twin goals of achieving a single figure golf handicap and owning a fast racehorse remain tantalisingly out of reach.

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    The Crowd Says (30)

    • July 15th 2017 @ 2:49am
      Harry said | July 15th 2017 @ 2:49am | ! Report

      Thoroughly predictable loss as the season of shame for Australian super rugby teams comes to a close … so when will the ARU show some spine and make the tough but necessary decision to close down the Rebels? Or will they jettison the Force and thus condemn Australian rugby to continuing underperformance and further mediocrity?

      • July 15th 2017 @ 5:36pm
        Unanimous said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:36pm | ! Report

        Or maybe do what every other sport does and give all teams equal access to the player pool, and equalise the competition.

        Probably not. I’m sure they’ll continue to break their own salary cap with ‘top ups’ (illegal in nearly every other sport) while they strategise about how to kill off the next weekest team, because killing randomly chosen weak teams that league management causes to be weak is a good way to prove they’ve got what it takes to make the ‘tough decisions’.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 15th 2017 @ 5:58am
      Huw Tindall said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      Wonder what the Rebels could have done this year with less injuries and better coaching. Lots of what ifs but looking at the team sheet there is enough talent and experience there to suggest they should have done better. What I’d give for a few Dave Wessels in Aussie rugby.

      6,250 not enough however. Expect a bumper crowd at the Force tomorrow. If the Rebels can’t get a decent crowd for their potentially last ever game Melbourne doesn’t deserve a team over Perth.

      • Columnist

        July 15th 2017 @ 9:18am
        Geoff Parkes said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report


        Just on this tendency for people to evaluate and compare the Rebels and Force based on their respective abilities to gather numbers to rally and show passionate support at the matches…

        At no stage have the Rebels had a ‘call to arms’ for fans to come out and help save their team. The reason is that they were told by the ARU that they are safe, and they still believe that they are safe. There is, and never has been,no campaign to ‘save the Rebels’.

        That said, 6,250 obviously isn’t enough. But when you consider what a season this has been; the injuries, poor results, inconsistent scheduling of games, all of the off field negativity etc… it has been impossible for the marketing team to build a narrative to increase memberships and attract fans.

        It’s a problem that is Australia wide, not just at the Rebels. in fact I’d argue that the appallingly low crowd at last weeks’ Tahs v Jags game was more of an indictment on Australian rugby than this crowd in Melbourne.

        • July 15th 2017 @ 11:31am
          The Sheriff said | July 15th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

          And and indictment of the Super competition!
          Why is the Argentine national team in the competition? Who cares about them except at Test Match level.
          They can barely draw a crowd when they play Test football here,, so who would want to watch a Super Rugby team.
          This also applies to the Sunwolves.
          They may be promoting the game in japan but they are buggering it up in other places, like here and in South Africa.

        • July 15th 2017 @ 5:46pm
          Unanimous said | July 15th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

          It’s the same indictment. Both crowds were almost exactly in proportion to each teams season total. Both games were irrelevant to the finals. Both games were isolated home games coming after four or five weaks of nothing. This game was a good game however, and those who went came away happy they did.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 9:31am
        wag said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        Agree Huw,

        6,250 is hopeless!! But there is little chance of substantial improvement because of the almost complete lack of support from the AFL-obsessed Melbourne media.
        For example, I was in Melbourne in the week prior to the Rebels home match against the Waratahs, and there were 14 pages devoted to AFL, about 12- 15 lines across the page devoted to the Melbourne Storm, and a write-up so small about the Rebels’ home match that we had to search through the paper 3 times before we found it.!!
        With this attitude, Melbourne (which promotes itself as the sporting capital of Australia !) simply does not deserve
        to have any sports that provide even the smallest competition to their precious AFL.
        It is time for the Victorian Government and media to show the fairness to other sports that non-NRL teams enjoy in the more progressive and realistic States of Q’ld, NSW (which give AFL fair media coverage) and WA.
        SHAME, Victoria !!!

        • July 15th 2017 @ 10:38am
          Craigo said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:38am | ! Report


          I agree wag.
          The AFL-obsessed Melbourne media are verging on religious fundamentalism when it comes to AFL.

          In 2015 I attended the Rugby League SoO in Melbourne. The next day at breakfast I picked up a copy of
          The AGE newspaper to read about the 90,000 strong crowd they got the night before at the MCG.

          There was not one mention of the SoO game in the paper.
          With one of the biggest sporting events in this country being played at The MCG the Age newspaper was to petty to write a single line about the game.

          In fairness the Herald Sun (NewsLimited) paper did give the SoO it’s due respect.

          I also attended the “The National Sports Museum at the MCG” (which should change it’s name to the The AFL, Cricket and Athletics Sports Museum because that the only sports they cover.) again verging on religious fundamentalism when it comes to AFL.

          • July 15th 2017 @ 4:12pm
            Mattocks said | July 15th 2017 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

            The same can be said about the NRL obsessed media in Sydney. Each time I’m in Sydney I have a chuckle at the lack of afl media. Is it just further manifestation of melbourne Sydney rivalry.
            I don’t know which team, if any will be dropped. None I hope. This has been a horror year for rugby in Aus. No team has been especially good. Our No. 1 team has many more losses than wins. NSW and Qland with a century of history behind them have looked 3rd rate all year.
            So instead of all the negative comments wanting to get rid of either the rebels or the force maybe we should all metaphorically stampede the ARU and demand no teams to be dropped. And a more sensible set up of the Comp so we can actually see our teams play regularly rather than the crazy two to three week breaks between games. I could go on.

      • July 15th 2017 @ 10:30am
        Hannes said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        I hope the ARU does not buy out Cox and his Imperial group and that no team will be axed. Let the Melbournians decide if the Rebels survive. 6,250 to watch a game in a city the size of Melbourne cannot be defended. Cox is playing hard ball, let him take the losses that are surely coming his way. If he can turn the Rebels around, let him take a profit. If the Rebels fail in the meantime,,let then fail…..but do not give him a windfall by combining the Force and Rebels under his ownership.

      • Roar Pro

        July 15th 2017 @ 10:39am
        Crazy Horse said | July 15th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        The forecast in Perth is a 100% chance of rain when the match is on and it’s kicking off only an hour after Premier Grade finishes to suit Easten State’s TV. As a result I expect many will make the decision to stay in their clubs and watch it on TV.

        Conversely it’s Hodgo’s last game so who knows?

      • July 16th 2017 @ 7:59pm
        DaveR said | July 16th 2017 @ 7:59pm | ! Report

        Clutching at straws a bit Huw to base anything on season 2017, the rugby season from hell.

        Far more telling was the poor crowd for the Wallabies v Pumas in Perth in September 2016 with only 16,202 present.

    • Roar Guru

      July 15th 2017 @ 6:44am
      Nobrain said | July 15th 2017 @ 6:44am | ! Report

      Jaguares won with bench after an awful first half where they did not have the ball at all.

    • July 15th 2017 @ 8:58am
      Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

      Rebels desperately need a 10 who can organise. Aside from the 1 set piece play for Hodges try they seemed bereft of ideas or shape.

      Credit to them for staying as close as they did but the scoreline doesn’t really reflect how one-sided the match was.

      • Columnist

        July 15th 2017 @ 9:21am
        Geoff Parkes said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        I thought Jackson Garden-Bachop had his best game for the Rebels last night Paul, and it was his creativity which led to the final try. But yes, they did lack ideas and penetration against a solid defensive line in the 2nd half.

        Where do they get a high class 10 from? Easier said than done, Australia has such little depth there right now.

        • Roar Rookie

          July 15th 2017 @ 9:59am
          Paul D said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

          Horwitz I assume is headed there with the 10 jersey in mind. I doubt he went there to play bench cover to Hodge. I think he could prove useful.

          To me the Rebels seemed to be passing to flat footed players who didn’t know what to do with it, so they we caught behind the line. At some stages the jaguares were making as many metres while defending as they did attacking.

          I like Maddcoks, he’s a good find. Very young and green but loads of potential for the 15 to let Hodge stay at 12. Hard to get excited about prospects for next year given the current state of things though.

    • Roar Guru

      July 15th 2017 @ 9:25am
      Carlos the Argie said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      HI Geoff,

      Thanks for the review. I have not yet watched the game so I will not comment on it. On another post, I think, you mentioned you spoke with Creevy. I wonder what you thought of his English language skills. It seems that last year, he had problems communicating with the referees and I wasn’t sure if it was his style or his language skills. It could be both.

      But I presume you spoke Aussie English with him, so your comments would be welcomed.


      • Columnist

        July 15th 2017 @ 9:45am
        Geoff Parkes said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Hi Carlos,

        We used half an interpreter.

        No, not a dwarf, but where he understood my questions in English easily, but said that it was easier for him to answer in Spanish through the interpreter.

        But also, he would break into English at times, and after we finished the interview we chatted briefly in English.

        To answer your question, I’d say his English is passable, (certainly better than my Spanish) but probably not good enough for fast conversation with referees in the heat of the moment.

        • Roar Guru

          July 15th 2017 @ 9:55am
          Carlos the Argie said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          This is what I presumed. And I now am convinced that this is a serious matter for a team captain in the RC. Maybe OK playing with Garces and Poite, but not with other anglo referees.

          I would like to know which half of the interpreter you used.

          In my business, many times you have “blind assessors” of data or patients, and it is always funny to meet the “blind assessor”….(I work in medical science and research).

    • July 15th 2017 @ 9:28am
      Tooly said | July 15th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      Four observations.
      Mafi is better than Timani .
      Timani has ability but is a bit lazy .
      Sean McMahon plays above his weight but we can’t play two small back rowers . I’d play him ahead of Hooper McMahon is tougher and doesn’t get shrugged off or shunted .
      Stirzacher is the future at half , give him athe go Chekko !

      • July 15th 2017 @ 11:37am
        The Sheriff said | July 15th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        There were more potential Wallabies on show in Melbourne than amongst those who played for the Reds at Dunedin. Cooper has lost it, Moore is also past it , Smith has the smarts but not the motor to use them and the rest of them were third rate which is very sad indeed.
        When Qld rugby is thriving, as the saying goes, Australian rugby is booming.

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