It was a step too far for the Plus500 Brumbies who saw their Super Rugby title ambitions ended by a full-strength and turbo-charged Jaguares in Buenos Aires, the home side claiming a well-deserved spot in the Final with a 39-7 semi-final victory.
Christian Lealiifano led the Brumbies out on the occasion of his 150th Super Rugby match into the cauldron-like atmosphere of a packed Estadio Jose Amalfitani and that crowd was on its feet in only the fourth minute.
Joaquin Diaz Bonilla chipped over the top from a penalty advantage causing confusion in the Brumbies defence, and the bounce was gleefully pounced upon by former Brumbies scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli, who snaffled it up and forced his way over the line. Diaz Bonilla banged over the conversion for a 7-0 Jaguares lead.
Another Brumbies error at a line-out allowed Diaz Bonilla to clip over a medium-range penalty moments later to push the home side into double-figures and the classy Argentinean flyhalf clumped over another three points as the Brumbies found themselves in early trouble.
The home side continued to assert their dominance as lock Tomas Lavanini crashed over, the conversion taking the score to 20-0 after the same number of minutes. Needing a way back into the contest the Brumbies found one just before the break.
After a rolling maul had been stopped close to the line, the visiting side recycled possession and moved infield where Folau Fainga'a picked up to drive over for his twelfth try of the season, equalling the Super Rugby record for a forward. Lealiifano's conversion gave the Australian side a foothold heading into the interval.
The Brumbies started the second half well but were caught with a classic sucker-punch with eight minutes played in the second term. A Lealiifano grubber rebounded off the shins of the Jaguares defence allowing Matias Moroni to scoop up the loose ball and race downfield.
The winger drew two defenders before passing infield to the supporting runner, centre Matias Orlando, who went over. Diaz Bonilla restored the twenty-point cushion with another successful kick.
Any hopes that the Brumbies would make a miracle comeback were shattered with eighteen minutes to play as Orlando burst through a gap to race away for his second try of the match, Bonilla continuing his 100% record from the tee as the score moved to 34-7.
Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin came on to win his fiftieth Super Rugby cap late in the match, replacing Allan Alaalatoa, but it was the Jaguares who had the last word as the Argentines collected more loose ball and spread it wide quickly to Emiliano Boffelli who cantered over to become the all-time Jaguares leading Super Rugby try scorer and seal their Final spot.
Jaguares (20) 39 (T: Cubelli, Lavanini, Orlando (2), Boffelli, C: Diaz Bonilla (4), P: Diaz Bonilla (2))
Plus500 Brumbies (7) 7 (T: Fainga'a, C: Lealiifano)
1. Scott SIO (17. James SLIPPER 48'), 2. Folau FAINGA'A (16. Connal MCINERNEY 64'), 3. Allan ALAALATOA (18. Leslie LEULUAIALII-MAKIN 69'), 4. Rory ARNOLD (20. Murray DOUGLAS 69'), 5. Sam CARTER (19. Darcy SWAIN 57'), 6. Rob VALETINI (21. Jahrome BROWN 52'), 7. Tom CUSACK, 8. Lachlan MCCAFFREY, 9. Joe POWELL (22. Matt LUCAS 69'), 10. Christian LEALIIFANO, 11. Toni PULU (23. Tom WRIGHT 42'), 12. Irae SIMONE, 13. Tevita KURIDRANI, 14. Henry SPEIGHT, 15. Tom BANKS