Super Rugby 2018: Stormers v Jaguares Preview

Rugby player dives over the line to score a try.

The Stormers need a strong start against the Jaguares this Saturday, 17 February, in the opening 2018 Super rugby fixture.

Robbie Fleck will be looking to lay down a marker when his side entertains the Jaguares this Saturday afternoon. The visit of the Argentine outfit isn't exactly an acid test but the Stormers will still need to be on their game if they are to open their campaign with a win.

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Stormers v Jaguares
17 February 2018
Newlands Stadium
15:00

Referee: Jaco Peyper

To Win (80 mins)
Stormers 3/10
Draw 25/1
Jaguares 5/2


Handicap
Stormers (-8.5) 9/10
Jaguares (+8.5) 9/10

Stormers

Last season’s Africa 1 Conference leaders will have a relatively testing opener against a Jaguares outfit out to prove itself.

The Stormers crashed out in the quarter-finals of last year's tournament due to a lack of discipline that allowed All Black Damian McKenzie to kick four penalties in a tight 17-11 win for the Chiefs at Newlands. The result saw the men from Cape Town go down to the men from Waikato at the quarter-final stage for the second year running.

The Capetonians attacking style of play garnered them 64 tries - the fourth highest in the tournament - in 2017. While they were hot with ball-in-hand, it was the Stormers' defensive displays that cost them as they shipped a staggering 61 tries, with the bulk coming from their hidings on tour in New Zealand where the Crusaders, Highlanders, and Hurricanes outclassed them.

The lessons from those defeats have forced Paul Feeney and Paul Treu to up the ante in improving the holistic and natural skill of their players, in particular, the backline, with the end goal being a system where players work harder on their skills in order to surpass the demigod status of the New Zealand franchises.

I'm expecting Fleck not to use his full-strength squad for this one, as a way to integrate more fringe players into the frame. As such, we should see new signings Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen have a run at the Jaguares this Saturday.

Jaguares

The tenth place overall finishers managed seven wins last season, finishing above the Kings, Cheetahs, and Bulls in the Combined African Conference. They raised a few eyebrows when they won three in a row in Buenos Aires, beating the Lions, Cheetahs, and Reds respectively. But after their bye-week, the Argentines went and lost four on the trot in South Africa which all but ended their hopes of qualifying for the knock-out phase of the 2017 tournament.

They managed to stop the rot when they headed back home and registered a win over the Sunwolves. That victory seemed to galvanise them somewhat as they thumped the Waratahs and marginally beat the Rebels to end their second Super Rugby campaign on a high note, jolting up three places from their overall finish in 2016.

This year, former Argentine international, Mario Ledesma, will take over the reins from Raul Perez who coached the team for both their 2016 and 2017 Super Rugby seasons.

Ledesma will leave Michael Chieka and the Australian Rugby Union to pursue coaching in his native homeland. The former scrum coach for the Wallabies made 84 appearances for Argentina and participated in four World Cups. Ledesma is determined to create a unique playing style for the Argentines that incorporates their already existing flair and skill set.

I'm expecting the Jaguares to run out strong and field their best team for the clash in Newlands, with the likes of veteran Agustin Creevy, Nicolas Sanchez, and Emiliano Boffelli, at Ledesma's disposal, we are in for a high-scoring cracker.

Verdict: Jaguares (+8.5) 9/10
I’m having a go on the Jaguares to clinch this opener in Newlands. With the new Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma in the front line, the Jaguares will be a finer tuned and discipline side. They’ve proven that they can match any team, with ball in hand and this year they’ve got the right scrum in place to allow their backline to play off of them. 

The Stormers, on the other hand, I'm not convinced they’ll be able to make and implement the skills their trying to achieve with the restructuring of their coaches so early on, and they’ve lost Robert du Preez Jnr, Huw Jones, Cheslin Kolbe, Kurt Coleman, and Juan de Jongh, I see an upset in Cape Town.  


Writtern by Lungelo Mdladla for Hollywoodbets

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