It’s bottom versus top in the South Africa Conference on Saturday as the Jaguares and Lions conclude the round at Estadio José Amalfitani.
The Argentines were hugely disappointing last week against the Reds as their impressive effort against the Waratahs was ultimately undone.
Mistake after mistake hindered Mario Ledesma’s side and if they do not clean up their game it is difficult to see them overcome the Lions.
However, it’s hardly been plain sailing for the Lions in recent weeks too as they lost at home to the Blues before last Saturday’s narrow win over the Sunwolves. Still though they are sitting pretty in their Conference, a handsome 10 points ahead of their closest challengers.
In contrast the league table makes for dismal reading for the Jaguares, as their solitary win in 2018 leaves them 15 points off the Lions.
What could give the Argentines a lift going into this clash is that each of the previous five matches between the Jaguares and Lions have been won by the home team on the day, with the Jaguares enjoying 12-point wins in each of their previous two home games against the Lions.
To continue the above trend the Jaguares simply must shake off a disappointing run of results on home soil, having won only one of their last five home games, failing to break into double-digits in two of their last three. Adding to the Jaguares’ concerns is that the Lions have won their last seven on their travels, a streak more than twice as long as any other they have managed as either the Lions or Cats.
On form it therefore looks like the Lions will have too much, with the Jaguares’ inconsistencies a real concern they simply must address.
Team news: Head coach Mario Ledesma has made just two changes to the Jaguares starting line-up. Ledesma has brought Bautista Ezcurra in at centre to replace Santiago Iglesias, while Santiago Garcia Botta has come in for Felipe Arregui at prop. There are two further alterations on the Jaguares bench with Jeronimo de le Fuente and Ramiro Moyano replacing Juan Martin Hernandez and Sebastian Cancelliere respectively.
Lions head coach Swys de Bruin has made 10 changes, including three positional switches, to his starting line-up. In the back-line, Rohan Janse van Rensburg returns to inside centre, after doing duty on the right wing against the Sunwolves, while Sylvian Mahuza comes into the run-on side to wear 14. Marco Jansen van Vuren comes in at scrum-half as a replacement for Ross Cronje, who is ruled out with a rib injury.
In the forwards, Kwagga Smith moves from the side of the scrum to number eight, where he takes over from Len Massyn, while Robert Kruger and Cyle Brink are the starting flankers. This means that the side’s captain Franco Mostert returns to his favoured lock position and he packs down alongside Marvin Orie. Props Ruan Dreyer and Jacques Van Rooyen replace Jacobie Adriaanse and Dylan Smith, with Robbie Coetzee at hooker.
2017: Lions won 47-27 in Johannesburg
2017: Lions won 24-21 in Johannesburg
2017: Jaguares won 36-24 in Buenos Aires
2016: Jaguares won 34-22 in Buenos Aires
2016: Lions won 52-24 in Johannesburg
Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23 Ramiro Moyano
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Len Massyn, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Shaun Reynolds
Date: Saturday, March 24
Venue: Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 18:40 (21:40 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Pablo Deluca (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)