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

Bulls vs Rebels
sast: 15h05 | local: 15h05

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Sat, 21 April 2018
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
Sat, 28 April 2018
Reds v Lions 05h05 Suncorp Stadium
Blues v Jaguares 07h35 Eden Park
Brumbies v Crusaders 09h45 Canberra
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 6 4 0 2 20
Brumbies 7 3 0 4 14
Reds 8 3 0 5 13
Sunwolves 8 0 0 8 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 6 0 2 29
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Chiefs 8 6 0 2 26
Blues 7 2 0 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 7 3 0 4 14
Sharks 8 2 1 5 14
Stormers 8 3 0 5 13
Jaguares 6 2 0 4 8