Jaguares players told to consider options as franchise's future remains uncertain
Jaguares midfielder Jeronimo de la Fuente has revealed players at the franchise have been told by the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) that they are free to take up offers from offshore clubs to continue playing rugby.
The Argentinian side have been left in a difficult position following the indefinite suspension of the 2020 Super Rugby season, which will almost certainly be cancelled as members of SANZAAR prepare their own domestic leagues in its place.
New Zealand Rugby have launched Super Rugby Aotearoa, a competition featuring its five franchises that is set to kick off on June 13.
The Sunwolves had previously hoped to take part in the Australian league, but an announcement made on Monday said the Tokyo-based franchise wouldn’t partake in the competition.
In South Africa, meanwhile, plans are reportedly underway to get a similar domestic model up and running, which would presumably feature all four of their Super Rugby sides as well their two Pro14 clubs, the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.
That leaves the Jaguares, last year’s runners-up to the Crusaders, without a domestic competition to take part in as they are the only Super Rugby team based out of Argentina.
The travel restrictions that prevented the Sunwolves from joining the Australian league will also prevent the Jaguares from linking up with the South African sides, meaning they have no rugby to play for the foreseeable future.
Rugby Australia have confirmed that the Tokyo-based Sunwolves won't compete in the revised domestic Super Rugby competition.https://t.co/gVqzOZnbVM
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 1, 2020
“They told us that if we had any possibility of emigrating that we take it and that the UAR was going to be predisposed to help us to be able to travel,” de la Fuente told ESPN in a recent interview.
“Next year is still a long way off and the possibilities are many. And the sadness that it can no longer be the same. It hurts me a lot to think that Jaguares does not exist anymore, that Super Rugby cannot play so I am positive from that side, that the solution will be found.”
Also speaking to ESPN, UAR president Marcelo Rodriguez remained hopeful about the Jaguares’ future chances of survival.
“We are very optimistic. We thought about the Jaguares project very carefully, it was gradual and growing and we reached a very beautiful and dreamlike instance,” UAR president Marcelo Rodríguez said in a translated statement.
“The world surprised us, individually and collectively, as countries and continents, and poses a challenge to us with a new reality that we do not know where it is going to stay.
“We are sure that Jaguares in one way or another will be inserted in a competition that for the UAR is economically and financially sustainable. We are not going to put our stability at risk.”
Argentina and the Jaguares remain part of a 14-team Super Rugby competition sold by SANZAAR to its broadcasters from next year through to 2025, but the southern hemisphere’s global governing body has admitted changes could be made to accomodate for the coronavirus pandemic.
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