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Super Rugby 2017: Jaguares v Cheetahs Preview
The Jaguares will look for a repeat of last weekend’s performance against the Cheetahs, when the two engage in a cat-fight at the Estadio Jose Amalfitani on Saturday
The Jaguares will be looking to make it back-to-back home victories over South African opposition when they host the Cheetahs this Saturday. The visitors really struggled to get going against the Sunwolves last week and will need a much-improved showing if they are to get one over the Jags.
Jaguares v Cheetahs | Saturday 18 March | Estadio Jose Amalfitani | 21:40
To Win (80 Mins)
Jaguares 2/9 | Draw 30/1 | Cheetahs 5/2
Jaguares (-13.5) 9/10 | Cheetahs (+13.5) 9/10
The Jaguares did well to beat a second-string Lions outfit last weekend, but will once again lament the amount of tries they leaked. If they are to advance to the playoffs this season, they really do need to spend more time on solidifying their defensive structures. The Lions were without offensive Springboks such as Elton Jantjies and Rohan Janse van Rensburg, and yet still managed to cross the whitewash four times – this is cause for concern for coach Raúl Pérez and his men. Sides fielding stronger, first choice players will target the Argentines’ weak defensive alignment, and you can bet that the Cheetahs will decide to have a good go at it this weekend.
Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez continues to be the heartbeat of this team, and his 20 points against the Lions included two try assists. The little man with the big heart continues to underline his class, week in and week out and, along with players like Jerónimo de la Fuente, Matías Orlando and Joaquín Tuculet, make up one of the most talented (if inconsistent) backlines in the tournament.
Another yellow card (by Tomás Lezana) again highlighted the ill-discipline in this squad, and playing with fourteen men against an offensive side like the Cheetahs could prove deadly. However, if they win the collisions and keep their heads, they should be too good for the Cheetahs this weekend.
Rumours that SANZAAR may be looking to kick the Cheetahs out of the competition (along with two others) in a bid to shake it up, will surely push the Bloemfonteiners on this weekend. Their last performance was not their best by any stretch of the imagination, and their overconfidence (against the Sunwolves – another potential Super Rugby casualty going forward) nearly proved their downfall. The closeness of the scoreline (38-31) would have brought Franco Smith’s boytjies crashing back to earth. There is never an easy game in this competition, and the Free Staters were nearly made to find that out the hard way.
This week, however, poses a completely different challenge, in a very hostile environment. Saturday’s scrum battle will be a mouth-watering affair with hardmen (and respective captains) Agustin Creevy and Torsten van Jaarsveld going head-to-head at hooker; whoever gains ascendency over the other will go a long way to determining an overall winner. Should their forwards gain the upper-hand, the Cheetahs will once again look to throw the ball around and entertain – however, a lot more pragmatism may be required to defeat a solid Jaguares outfit at home this weekend.
Verdict: Jaguares 2/9
The Jaguares should dominate proceedings up front against a Cheetahs pack that perhaps lacks a degree of class, allowing Sanchez to set his backline alight once more. The Argentines' should take it by two or more scores.