SUPER RUGBY PREVIEW 2018: In the final instalment of the South African Conference, we preview the Argentinian side Jaguares.
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.”
South African Conference Placing: Fifth
Player of the Year: Tomás Cubelli
Rookie of the Year: Santiago Montagner
Super Rugby Placing: Eleventh
Best finish: Tenth in 2017
Worst finish: Thirteenth in 2016
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.
By Jan de Koning
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