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Jaguares off-shoot to contest Currie Cup from South African base

The Jaguares celebrate a historic win over the Blues

The Currie Cup First Division will feature added beef in the form of Argentinean outfit, the Jaguares XV, when it kicks off this weekend with a full round of matches.

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The South Americans will play in the Currie Cup First Division for the first time after a similar sortie in the Vodacom Cup a couple of years back. They are based in Potchefstroom and will face a short, but tough trip to Welkom, where they will face Down Touch Griffons, in their tournament debut.

The Argentineans could again prove a handful. Coach Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe himself is a well-known figure in world rugby, having played for the Pumas in three Rugby World Cups, while they have some notable players in their squad as well.

Gonzalo Bertranou (scrumhalf), who played for the Jaguares in the Vodacom Super Rugby tournament this year, is returning from injury and will be a boost to the squad.

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The arrival of two of their junior stars at the recent World Rugby Under-20 Championship, will also add to their backline stocks – Juan Pablo Castro (fullback and centre) captained his country and the speedy Mateo Carreras scored against the Junior Boks in their bronze final in Rosario last month.

Defending Currie Cup First Division champions, the SWD Eagles, start their campaign away from home, against the Valke in Brakpan. The same two sides contested the final last year, with the Southern Cape side prevailing 36-27.

The Potchefstroom rugby public will still see some action though, as home team the Leopards host EP Elephants at Olën Park. The Leopards have returned to their old stomping ground and will hope this will give them an edge in what promises to be a very competitive tournament.

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Boland, one of the surprise packages of the recently completed SuperSport Rugby Challenge, will be keen to continue with that form as they take on Border. The match takes place at King Edward Sports Ground in Montagu and should be well supported by the locals.

Boland last year took their games to venues such Robertson, Bredasdorp and Lamberts Bay, and now can add the Klein Karoo town to that.

Currie Cup First Division Fixtures – Round 1:

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Boland Cavaliers v Border Bulldogs

Venue: King Edward Sports Ground, Montagu

Kick-off: 14h30

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Leopards v EP Elephants

Venue: Olën Park, Potchefstroom

Kick-off: 15h00

Referee: Egon Seconds

Down Touch Griffons v Jaguares XV

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Venue: HT Pelatona Projects Stadium, Welkom

Kick-off: 15h00

Referee: Stuart Berry

Valke v SWD Eagles

Venue: Bosman Stadium, Brakpan

Kick-off: 15h30

Referee: AJ Jacobs

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Jon 5 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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