BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - The Wellington Hurricanes scored five tries to none as they picked up their first points of the season with a 34-9 mauling of Argentina’s Jaguares at Velez Sarsfield on Saturday.
The five tries were enough to secure a bonus point as the 2016 champions left their hosts with a third straight loss - their worst start in three seasons in the competition.
Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett, making his first start after coming off the bench in the 21-19 loss to the Bulls in South Africa last weekend, converted three tries while his replacement Jackson Garden-Bachop slotted a penalty.
Winger Ben Lam and centre Ngani Laumape scored first half tries but flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez kept the Argentine side within sight, his third penalty in the 47th minute edging them within three points after the visitors had led 12-6 at halftime.
Centre Matt Proctor put a damper on any hopes the Jaguares had of turning the match their way with the third try after 53 minutes, however, in another show of pace and power by the visiting backs.
Julian Savea charged through several tackles on the right wing and passed inside to scrumhalf TJ Perenara whose pass was knocked backwards by his opposite number Gonzalo Bertranou only for the ball to bounce kindly for Proctor to carry over.
Hurricanes prop Ben May was in the sin bin for a foul tackle when Vince Aso scored the fourth try and fellow replacement Blade Thomson completed the romp with one minute left.
The Jaguares sustained the first two of their three losses in South Africa but there are mitigating circumstances in that they are still getting used to a new coach in Mario Ledesma and a tougher streamlined tournament.
They held their own in the scrum and had a good defensive line but failed to sustain attacks through a good number of phases and tackled poorly in open play.
The Hurricanes will want to iron out the mistakes and ill-discipline which a better Jaguares side might have been able to capitalise on, but they have served notice they are again a force to be reckoned with this year.
They return to New Zealand to face the Canterbury Crusaders next weekend while the Jaguares, who are part of the sole remaining South African conference, host Australia’s New South Wales Waratahs in another cross-conference match.
Reporting by Rex Gowar