Jaguares ready for Super Rugby

Jaguares (File)
Jaguares (File)

Cape Town - The Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) held a press conference on Thursday in which the Jaguares were presented as the official Argentine franchise that will compete in Super Rugby from 2016.

Not only was the name of the franchise confirmed, but also its institutional images, communications platforms, jerseys, team management, captain and complete squad which will commence training from January 4, 2016.

Furthermore, Vélez Sarsfield was confirmed as stadium where the Jaguares will be playing their home matches in Buenos Aires.

At the beginning of the presentation, Carlos Araujo, president of the UAR, said: “The day has finally come and we are very happy. The franchise - the Jaguares - and the tournament, of which many of us have dreamt so much and for so long, it has today, formally and officially, come true.

"It has also been the result of a strategic plan that has taken a long time to develop and kick off. Today, in the initiation of the Jaguares and on their presentation day, I can only find words of appreciation to refer to the Argentine Rugby, our amateur rugby - the foundation of everything - where we come from and for which we have worked so much. This has been a fervent pillar supporting this dream which has joined us with expectations and the same eagerness we have all had to make, from now on, #JaguaresEnSuperRugby come true."

Greg Peters, UAR Professional Rugby General Manager, was in charge of opening the presentation where he showed a video that explained the competition the Jaguares will be playing as from February 26, when the Argentine players shall be contesting their first match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

Next, Peters further revealed that #JaguaresEnSuperRugby will be the hashtag used by the Jaguares throughout the year in social media as they seek to engage fans and stated: "We are still moving forward in this developing process which allows us to participate in the top global club competition where we are to face the best teams and the best players in the world."

It was then the time for Miguel Dupont, UAR Commercial Manager, to launch the original memberships to the public before head coach Raúl Pérez and captain Agustín Creevy were presented.

Pérez, who hails from Rosario, said: “It gives me great happiness for us all to have this possibility ahead. I also understand that I will have, among my duties, to manage UAR resources, including the exceptional players who will be part of this franchise joining together in the best club competition in the world.

"My responsibility and senses are fully focused on what is coming. That is my job and we, the staff, are well aware that there is a giant challenge ahead that has two major aspects. On the one hand, there is great experience to be achieved by everyone involved, which is central in our first season in Super Rugby; a great experience that not take us by surprise. And on the other hand, there is the adaptation, not only in rugby performance terms, but also in regard to travelling, rest and player management, which shall also be a crucial, fundamental and key issue.

"As to the game, Super Rugby provides a scenario to be more risky in attack. The focus will be, as it happens to be with all the teams in this competition, on the greater willingness to keep and use the ball.

"We have top level players who have demonstrated that taking those risks with the ball is possible and that the margin we have to keep on improving as to these aspects makes us very optimistic."

On his part, Creevy, the hooker from the city of La Plata and the club San Luis, said: "To me, it is a dream. Not only because it involves playing in the best championship in the world, but also because it means to be in Argentina, to live and play in my country, to be near my club. That is amazing and very rewarding.

"In relation to the Jaguares, it is a historical event having a professional Argentine team in a tournament such as this, in which the best rugby in the world is played. I still think about it in those terms today and it touches me deeply. It will help us not only to become a more unified team, but also to provide the group with continuity. We will now have the chance to keep on growing as individuals, to get to know each other much better as to the game and to become a better team as a whole.   

"Being captain is and represents a great honour. It is very important to me at personal level, very gratifying, very nice and I hope to honour the title. I would like to thank the coaches for their support and the players as well. Let us hope to enjoy a great year, one of important growth for the Argentine Rugby.

"With the Jaguares in the Super Rugby, I have no doubt that the sport is set to become even more popular. Reaching more a greater audience that rugby will be in contact with a larger public and, at the same time, become more appealing to potential players."

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