VIDEO: Jaguares burst Rebels' bubble
VIDEO: Jaguares burst Rebels' bubbleSHARE
The result, in which the teams scored three tries each, left the front door wide open in the Australian conference – where the Rebels held a slender one-point lead at the start of the weekend.
The Rebels held an 11-point (14-3) lead at the half-time break.
However, the Argentinean outfit produced a sterling second half and scored all three their tries after the break – the match-winner, by Bautista Ezcurra, coming seven minutes from time.
The win means the Jaguares move into fourth place on the South African Conference table, above the Bulls.
The Jaguares put behind their gruelling travel schedule to storm back from their half-time deficit.
The Rebels had a chance to snatch a draw in the final minute after pounding the Jaguares defence over 34 phases, but decided to go for an all or nothing shot at a winning try only for the ball to come loose and enable the Argentinians to hang on for a big victory.
"It was a tough week for us, a long trip, but we wanted to win this game, I think we wanted to win it more than them," Jaguares skipper Pablo Matera said.
"It was very difficult, the Rebels have one of the best attacks in the tournament, but we trained all week on our defence and we showed the benefits of that in the last 20 minutes."
It is the Jaguares third win of the season from eight matches and the Rebels third loss from seven matches and a big blow to their hopes of holding onto their lead in the Australian conference.
The Rebels looked to be heading for victory when Wallaby scrumhalf general Will Genia engineered two tries with linebreaks, but once he left the field with hamstring trouble early in the second half, the home side lacked direction.
The Jaguares, static in the first half, hit back with tries to wingers Sebastian Cancelliere and Ramiro Moyano, while Olympic Sevens player Bautista Ezcurra scored the try to put them in front seven minutes from the end.
For the Rebels:
Tries: Meakes, Koroibete, D Haylett-Petty
Cons: Debreczeni 2
For the Jaguares:
Tries: Cancelliere, Moyano, Ezcurra
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Sanchez 2
Yellow card: Tetera Faulkner (Rebels, 56 – repeated infringements, in at the side of a maul)
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Sefa Naivalu.
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Javier Manuel Diaz, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.
Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)