The Jaguares and Kings will be playing both for pride and to finish the season as strongly as possible when they face off in Buenos Aires.
Friday’s fixture sees 10th take on 12th in the table as the Jaguares are currently five points ahead of their opponents going into the game. The Kings however have scored four more tries than their hosts, but it’s the visitors’ defence that’s cost them as they have leaked 14 more.
What will encourage the Kings is that the Jaguares haven’t held a fortress at home this season and they have lost their last two matches on their patch, never have they lost more in succession at home. Furthermore, the Kings won their last Friday fixture, defeating the Waratahs.
The Kings will need one of their star performers, Chris Cloete, to be in pilfering form as this season he leads the turnover count on 26. This team has certainly come on in leaps and bounds this year and one man steering them is fly-half Lionel Cronje, who is full of confidence.
Cronje returns to the side this week after missing their last match against the Lions due to injury. He captains a strong-looking line-up.
Travel though is often a factor for visiting teams to Argentina but head coach Dean Davids is confident his men are settled after the trip.
“It was a long and tiring travel to Buenos Aires. The guys were a little tired when we arrived here. We have done some recovery and had a good team meeting and training session,” Davids said ahead of Friday’s game. “The guys look excited and are ready to go on Friday night.”
“We expect a very tough game. The Jaguares will always be a formidable side here in Buenos Aires. They have selected an internationally experienced team, so we know we have to be at our best from the start. We have to keep the pressure on them for the whole 80 minutes.”
2017: Jaguares won 39-26 in Port Elizabeth
2016: Kings won 29-22 in Port Elizabeth
2016: Jaguares won 73-27 in Buenos Aires
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Moroni, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Santiago Cordero
Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (c), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Mzamo Majola
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Masixole Banda, 23 Yaw Penxe
Date: Friday, June 30 (Saturday 1 July)
Venue: Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 20:05 local (23:05 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Pali Deluca (Argentina), Damian Schneider (Argentina)