The Rebels return from a bye week looking to put their heavy defeat to the Hurricanes behind them when they host the Jaguares on Saturday.
A 50-19 hammering at the hands of the New Zealanders in Melbourne brought Dave Wessels’ men back down to earth with a bang in Round Seven. But after a fortnight of licking their wounds they will be determined to put their season back on track against the struggling Argentines.
Indeed, the Jaguares are in the midst of a dismal season, having lost five out of their seven games, with the Rebels winning four from six.
The visitors did however beat the Rebels last year in the only previous meeting between the sides, securing a 32-29 win in Melbourne. But things have definitely improved at the AAMI Park outfit in 2018 with the arrival of Wessels and a clutch of Force players certainly helping.
Despite that aforementioned loss to the Hurricanes, the Rebels currently sit atop the Australian Conference with this game a chance to put some ground between them and the chasing pack, with the Brumbies facing a tough match at the Highlanders while the Waratahs host the Reds.
The head says a Rebels victory but what may give the Jaguares hope is that they claimed wins in Australia against the Waratahs and Rebels in 2017. To win they simply must tighten up their defence as they leaked 40 points to the Crusaders last week, taking their total to 230.
After five matches in Buenos Aires this is a pivotal period for the Jaguares as they now have four games on the road, with a poor return set to see them cut adrift at the foot of the South African Conference. Play-off rugby is of course out of reach, with pride now the buzzword.
The last time these teams met: The Jaguares won their last and only meeting, 32-29, in Melbourne last year. It was a thrilling game to end both sides’ seasons as Santiago Cordero (2), Guido Petti and Gonzalo Bertranou crossed in victory for the Jaguares. Reece Hodge and Steve Cummins would go over for the Australian outfit as Hodge finished with a 22-point haul as he also added one conversion and five penalties.
Form: The Rebels’ outstanding start to the season that saw them win their first three matches has stalled somewhat in recent rounds, with defeats to the Waratahs and Hurricanes book-ending a win over the Sharks. They still remain top of the Australian Conference by one point.
For the Jaguares it’s been much more bleak as they have won just two out of seven games so far this campaign. They were well beaten by the Crusaders last week to cap a run of five home games that brought about those two victories, with this their first away game since February.
2017: Jaguares won 32-29 in Melbourne
Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Sefa Naivalu
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Javier Manuel Diaz, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Joaquin Tuculet
Date: Saturday, April 14
Venue: AAMI Park
Kick-off: 15:15 local (05:15 GMT)
Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
Television match official: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)