Rassie expecting Jaguares-like performance from Pumas

Mario Ledesma (Getty)
Mario Ledesma (Getty)

Durban - The last time Argentina were in Durban, they stunned Heyneke Meyer’s Springboks with a 37-25 Rugby Championship win in 2015.

It was the first time that the Pumas had ever beaten the Boks, and it would go down as one of the great days in Argentinean rugby. 

The following year, Argentina beat the Boks in Salta and, in Super Rugby this year, the Jaguares beat all four South African teams in Argentina as they made history by reaching the tournament playoffs for the first time. 

The Jaguares did lose all five of the matches they played in South Africa, but the improvement in 2018 was there for all to see. 

Under the guidance of coach Mario Ledesma, the Jags became one of the form outfits in the competition as they dismantled sides from South Africa, Australia and even New Zealand. 

On their Australasian tour, the Jaguares returned with a perfect record having beaten the Rebels, Brumbies, Blues and Chiefs on the road. 

It was something that few would have thought possible just a year or two ago, but in 2018 the Jaguares proved that, on their day, they can exchange blows with anybody. 

Ledesma is now in charge of the national team, and he will be looking to transfer that Super Rugby form into the Rugby Championship and turn Argentina into a highly competitive force in world rugby. 

The physicality amongst the forwards remains the Pumas' biggest threat, but they have evolved from being a pack that simply looks to dominate set piece. 

These days, there is a massive emphasis on spoiling ball at the defensive breakdown while the forwards have improved their skillsets and are now able to link with the backs. 

The Jaguares, so often labelled as ill-disciplined and messy, were an attractive side to watch in 2018 and Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is expecting them to be a very similar outfit in national colours on Saturday.

"We’re a little bit unsure exactly what we’re going to get from them, but I'm expecting that they’re going to play like the Jaguares played because that was successful," Erasmus said on Thursday. 

The Jaguares were, after all, still playing Super Rugby just three weekends ago when they lost to the Lions in the quarter-finals. 

"They're used to one another and I don’t think a lot can change in three weeks. I think at Test match level they will kick a little bit more," the coach added. 

Kick-off on Saturday is at 17:05.


South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse


15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia  

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