Super Rugby

Jaguares coach hits back at Kearns' comments

Cape Town - Jaguares’ boss Gonzalo Quesada has responded to comments made by former Wallaby Phil Kearns that the Argentinians should not be in Super Rugby, describing them as “disappointing.”

Kearns was met with a backlash earlier in the week after stating that the Buenos Aires-based outfit did not deserve to take part in the competition.

The Australian said: “They’re the national team... they shouldn’t even be in the comp. If you want national teams put them in a comp. This is a provincial competition.

“I think Argentina have been incredibly smart and have hoodwinked the rest of SANZAAR because they’re going to have a magnificent World Cup team.”

Quesada has since had his say and believes that Kearns is wrong in his assertion.

“I admire him and I respect his opinion, and I understand the argument and the reason he’s giving…but I think we have to have a deeper look at the whole picture,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I was surprised and a bit disappointed by those comments.

“What is disappointing is when he says something like we cheated or we cheated to SANZAAR or there was a strategy. The idea was to get an Argentinian team to be better. We are improving year by year. We are really thankful (to be in Super Rugby). It’s a bit disappointing.”

Despite Kearns insisting that the Jaguares have an advantage, Quesada is adamant that it is not the case and says they are still a developing nation.

He added: “If you see the reality of Argentinian rugby we are really still quite behind. We have players abroad and we don’t have our best players. We have at least six or seven players who were in under-20s last year that had no experience in Super Rugby or international experience. It’s a developing team and I think it’s a great opportunity for us.

“Australia, South Africa and New Zealand were really generous giving us the opportunity to play this tournament. We don’t have enough players to have more than one franchise. We don’t have the infrastructure or players. We struggle to have a competitive team and that’s the reality.”

The Jaguares have regularly lost players to Europe but not to other Super Rugby franchises, despite potentially being available.

Quesada added: “All our players can play for other franchises, but no one calls them. No one is trying to steal our players from the southern hemisphere.”

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