Coming off their first Investec Super Rugby season, the Puma-laden Jaguares will be looking to push for a historic playoff spot in 2017.
Home: Buenos Aires
Last season: 13
Forwards: Cristian Bartoloni, Santiago García Botta, Facundo Gigena, Ramiro Herrera, Lucas Noguera Paz, Enrique Pieretto, Roberto Tejerizo, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Facundo Bosch, Agustín Creevy, Julián Montoya, Matías Alemanno, Juan Cruz Guillemaín, Marcos Kremer, Ignacio Larrague, Tomás Lavanini, Guido Petti, Rodrigo Báez, Facundo Isa, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Tomás Lezana, Benjamín Macome, Pablo Matera, Javier Ortega Desio, Santiago Portillo, Leonardo Senatore
There weren’t many players whose stock rise higher in 2016 than powerhouse loose forward Facundo Isa. The 110kg flanker was a constant threat with ball in hand for the Jaguares but took his game to an even higher level for the Pumas. During the Rugby Championship, Isa constantly breached the defence of all opposition and impressed with a tireless workrate. He was rewarded with the Argentine Player of the Year award. The 23-year-old No.8 seems to get bigger and stronger with each season and will be a player to watch in 2017.
To win a Super Rugby title you need at least one world class player in your side. Agustin Creevy is that man for the Jaguares. The dynamic hooker is not just a fine set piece exponent and explosive ball runner. He has ball skills that most mid-fielders would crave and a never-say-die attitude that permeates throughout his side. At 31-years of age and with 59 Argentina Test caps under his belt, Creevy is now at the peak of his career and will be instrumental if the Jaguares are to improve on their 13th placing last year.
A key part to the Jaguares success in 2017 will be the combination between halfback Martin Landajo and first five-eighth Nicolas Sanchez. The star duo have proven to be one of the slickest pairings in world rugby and will be wanting to stamp their class at Super Rugby level. While Landajo has a quick passing and running game, Sanchez is a pure technician and dead-eye goal kicker. Together they form a deadly partnership.
We predict that the Jaguares will feature in the playoff stages in 2017. After a mixed first Super Rugby season, the Jaguares should be more used to the travel and intricacies of the competition this year. They should dispatch the Kings easily in their pool and will prove to be a big challenge for both the Sharks and Lions. Always hard to beat at home, if the Jaguares can become more consistent away from their Buenos Aires base then they could go deep into the playoffs.