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photo credit: Rodrigo Vergara

Match Preview – Jaguares vs Cheetahs

Looking to go 3-1 this season Los Jaguares take-on the Cheetahs on Saturday. The fixture is to be Los Jaguares’ second home fixture this season.

The teams met in 2016 in what was Los Jaguares debut Super Rugby match. The Argentine team won a thriller 34-33 in Bloemfontein. On that occasion Martín Landajo and Nicolás Sánchez led the way. The scrum half scored two tries while the fly half kicked 14 points. Neither player will feature this time around.

Los Jaguares head into the match looking for a 7th win over South African opposition. This season’s wins over the Southern Kings and Lions mean that Los Jaguares now have a 50% winning record against South African sides. At home Los Jaguares lost against the Stormers and Sharks in 2016 while defeating the others. The Cheetahs were the exception, as the Free State side did not play in Buenos Aires in 2016.

Los Jaguares enter this weekend’s game as the 4th best attacking side this season. The teams’s 100 points follows that of the Lions (107), Stormers (110) and Hurricanes (172).

Head Coach Raúl Pérez has made two changes for the Cheetahs. Starting for the first time this season is to be Juan Martín Hernández. El Mago takes over from Nicolás Sánchez at fly half. The move is motivated by suspension with Sánchez unavailable through suspension.

The remaining change comes in the pack. Teenager Marcos Kremer will make his run-on debut for Los Jaguares. The 19-year-old second-rower featured in the three opening matches as a replacement. He comes in for Guido Petti who has been ruled out following an ankle injury sustained in training on Monday.

In addition Pérez has also altered the replacements. The team’s starting props from the November Internationals are both to play from the bench. In the case of Ramiro Herrera the fixture will be his first of the year. The same is true of Ignacio Larrague who has been called-up after an excellent campign in the Americas Rugby Championship.

In the backs there is one additional change. Inside back Bautista Ezcurra has been named. Should he receive game time he would be making his Super Rugby debut, becoming the 45th Jaguar. He joins his brother, Felipe Ezcurra on the bench.

Cheetahs Head Coach Franco Smith has also opted for changes. Coming off a win over the Sunwolves he has named an all-new front-row. This sees starts for all of Danie Mienie, Elandré Huggett and Tom Botha.

Armandt Koster replaces Justin Basson to lock the scrum while Henco Venter has been rotated with Paul Schoeman dropping to the bench. Having played at outside center last week Ryno Benjamin will start against Los Jaguares from the right wing.

Alterations to the bench see Joseph Dweba, Carl Wegner, William Small-Smith, Boom Prinsloo and Shaun Venter all receiving opportunities in Buenos Aires.

The home side enters as favorites. Having been praised for their flair thus far and delivering in most matches at the set-piece a Jaguares victory is probable. Discipline proved to be a problem against the Southern Kings and Stormers but was rectified against the Lions.

JAGUARES
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Marcos Kremer, 3 Felipe Arregui, 2 Agustín Creevy (Capt.), 1 Santiago García Botta

Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Bautista Ezcurra

CHEETAHS
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ruan van Rensburg, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Tian Meyer (Capt.), 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Henco Venter, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Elandré Huggett, 1 Danie Mienie

Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Paul Schoeman, 21 William Small-Smith / Boom Prinsloo, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Fred Zeilinga

Date: Saturday, March 18
Venue: Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 4:40pm local
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Pablo Deluca (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)

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