It took three months, but the Hurricanes' magic may have finally run out.

After several shaky victories against inferior overseas opposition, and further tight triumphs in Kiwi derbies, the Hurricanes trapped themselves in a bind they couldn't escape from against the Jaguares tonight, falling to a 28-20 defeat.

It was their first loss at home to an overseas opponent since 2015, and while the Hurricanes had been racking up victories all season, their underlying play had for some time hinted that a humbling like this was possible.

It has been historically proven that close victories are not a repeatable skill in Super Rugby, so while the Hurricanes' victories were exceptionably valuable – the points are already banked – it wasn't exactly a foolproof formula for winning, and the Jaguares exposed their weaknesses.


Without the rested Beauden Barrett to steer the ship, the Hurricanes lacked a bit of their usual attacking spark, and that problem was exacerbated by an inefficient lineout and some poor discipline at the breakdown.

The damage will likely be minimal. The Hurricanes are still streets ahead of the third-placed team in the competition (though significantly behind the Crusaders), and Barrett's return after an upcoming bye will likely ensure they can get back on track when they go on their South African tour.

Yet, this has still been a campaign where the Hurricanes have often failed to flatter, no more so than tonight, where a spectacular brainfade and several other costly errors allowed the Jaguares to build a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

It had all started so well. Before the first minute had elapsed, Jordie Barrett had already beaten three defenders, Ngani Laumape had stabbed a kick through, and Vaea Fifita had scored in the corner.

It was a scintillating example of what the Hurricanes are capable of – something we then didn't see for the next 50 minutes, when Laumape bumped off a defender and scored in the left corner.

In between, it was the Jaguares' time to shine, with a helping hand from some Hurricanes horrors. Barrett produced the biggest blunder, gifting the visitors a penalty try. After TJ Perenara failed to corral a grubber, Barrett - perhaps forgetting which sport he was playing – batted the ball dead under pressure. He was aiming to save a try, but all he managed to accomplish was earning himself a yellow card, and gifting the Jaguares seven points.

Despite the advantage, the Jaguares were content to stick to their usual kick-happy philosophy, and while they couldn't make the most of their extra man, they cashed in when Barrett returned, immediately crossing from a lineout drive.

It was a lineout which led to their third try of the half as well, as Asafo Aumua dreadfully overthrew his target, giving the ball straight to the Jaguares, who in turn sent captain Jeronimo De La Fuente over from close range to take a 21-8 lead at the break.


Laumape's try cut the deficit to eight, but the same problems – penalties and sloppy lineouts - eventually led to a try to Julian Montoya, a Jaguares victory, and a notable wake-up call for the Hurricanes.

Jaguares 28 (Penalty try, Agustin Creevy, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Julian Montoya tries; Joaquin Diaz Bonilla 3 cons)
Hurricanes 20 (Vaea Fifita, Ngani Laumape, Kane Leaupepe tries; Jordie Barrett con, pen)
HT: 21-8