Jaguares searching for winning recipe

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 12:19

SUPER RUGBY PREVIEW 2018 - TEAM BY TEAM: In the fifth instalment of our 15-part build-up to the season we look at the Jaguares. It will be followed by the New Zealand and Australian conferences.

Will the change in coaching staff bring a change in fortunes?

Something needed to be done after the first two seasons in Super Rugby - in which period, under Raúl Pérez, they managed just 11 wins, a paltry 37 percent winning rate.

The new era of the Jaguares will see legendary former Argentinian Test hooker Mario Ledesma take over as head coach - with Martín Gaitán and Nicolás Fernández Miranda as his assistants.

Ledesma, who collected 84 caps between 1996 to 2011, appeared in four World Cups. He has vast experience as a player in France (played in Narbonne, Castres and Clermont, where he won a Top 14 title in 2010) and as assistant coach of the Stade Francais (2011-2012 with Michael Cheika), Montpellier (2012-2014 with Fabien Galthie), Waratahs (2014-2015 again with Cheika) and since 2015, as assistant coach of Wallabies, also with Michael Cheika.

He has a massive task to restore some pride in Argentina rugby, by making the Jaguares more competitive.

Apart from the fact that they blatantly overplayed their players - with the Jaguares doubling up as the Pumas, with the odd exception - discipline contributed to fatigue as they were stuck in the 'also-rans' category.

Discipline, in particular, was a massive issue.

Despite his high work rate, captain Agustin Creevy conceded the most penalties - not the kind of example you want him to set.

The Jaguares averaged more than 10 penalties per match and were guaranteed at least one yellow card per game.

Hard work has neem the keyword for the Jaguares in pre-season.

They have avoided talking about results, but focused on becoming a more "professional" team.

"Professionalism has to do with the way we do things," Ledesma said.

"[It is about] the seriousness, the responsibility, the honesty towards oneself, and giving your maximum in everything you do."

2018 Predictions

South African Conference Placing: Fifth
Player of the Year: Tomás Cubelli
Rookie of the Year:  Santiago Montagner
Super Rugby Placing: Eleventh

Squad Movements

In: Thomas Cubelli (Brumbies).

Out: Christian Bartolioni (SA XV Charente), Ramiro Herrera (Stade Français), Lucas Noguera (Bath).


Squad: Agustín Creevy, Benjamin Macome, Crisitian Bartoloni, Enrique Pieretto, Facundo Gigena, Felipe Arregui, Felipe Ezcurra, Guido Petti Pagadizabal, Ignacio Larrague, Javier Ortega Desio, Juan Cruz Guillemaín, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Julián Montoya, Leonardo Senatore,  Paz, Marcos Kremer, Matías Alemanno, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Pablo Matera, , Roberto Tejerizo, Rodrigo Báez, Santiago García Botta, Tomás Lavanini, Tomás Lezana, Bautista Ezcurra, Emiliano Boffelli, Gabriel Ascarate, Gonzalo Bertranou, Jerónimo De La Fuente, Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Joaquín Tuculet, Juan Martín Hernández, Manuel Montero, Martín Landajo, Matías Moroni, Matías Orlando, Nicolás Freitas, Nicolás Sánchez, Ramiro Moyano, Santiago Alvarez Fourcade, Santiago Cordero, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Thomas Cubelli.


Best finish: Tenth in 2017

Worst finish: Thirteenth in 2016

Super Rugby format

In a move that recognised that the 18-team format of 2016 and 2017 did not work, was confusing and had diluted the standards of the competition, SANZAAR confirmed that the tournament in 2018 would be restructured. The 18-team, four conference format was changed to a 15-team, three conference format. Gone from the competition are the Western Force (Australia), along with the Southern Kings and Cheetahs (South Africa). The Jaguares remained in the now one South African Conference, while the Sunwolves joined the Australia Conference.

Australian Conference: Brumbies, Rebels, Reds, Waratahs, Sunwolves
New Zealand Conference: Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes
South African Conference: Bulls, Lions, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares

Each team plays 16 regular season Conference matches that include eight matches within their own Conference (home and away) and four matches against teams from each of the other conferences (home or away). This is 120 matches in the regular season with a seven-match, eight-team play-off series.

Competition points will be awarded in all Regular Season matches on the following basis:
Win: Four points
Draw: Two points
Loss: Zero points for a loss of 8+ points
Bonus: One point for a loss between one and seven points
Bonus: One point for scoring three or more tries more than the opponent
Bye: Zero points


Quarterfinal hosts (four teams)

Three Conference winners
Best Wildcard team – (based on tournament points) regardless of conference
Quarterfinal Wildcard spots (four teams)
Four next best Wildcard teams (based on tournament points) regardless of Conference

By Jan de Koning

* Don't miss the New Zealand and Australian conferences in the coming weeks.

Other previews:
* Lions
* Stormers
* Sharks
* Bulls

There are currently no matches being played
Sat, 26 May 2018
Chiefs v Waratahs 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Highlanders 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Brumbies 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 14h00 London
Stormers v Lions 15h15 Newlands
Leinster v Scarlets 17h00 Dublin
Fri, 01 June 2018
Highlanders v Hurricanes 07h35 Dunedin
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 11 6 1 4 31
Rebels 12 6 0 6 30
Reds 11 4 0 7 18
Brumbies 11 3 0 8 16
Sunwolves 12 2 0 10 10
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 13 11 0 2 50
Hurricanes 12 10 0 2 45
Highlanders 11 7 0 4 32
Chiefs 11 7 0 4 32
Blues 12 3 0 9 17
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 13 7 0 6 36
Jaguares 13 8 0 5 34
Sharks 13 5 1 7 28
Bulls 12 5 0 7 24
Stormers 13 5 0 8 23