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photo credit: Steve Haag

Match Preview – Lions vs Jaguares

Los Jaguares will play a rare Friday Super Rugby fixture. Playing their third consecutive match in South Africa, the Argentine franchise will take-on the Lions in Johannesburg.

The teams have already met this season. In round three Los Jaguares completed a 36-24 home victory in Buenos Aires. This weekend’s fixture is expected to be significantly more difficult. Not only did the Lions reach the 2016 Super Rugby final but the team also leads the South African conference with 28 points. Los Jaguares have 19.

The Lions have gone for four changes from the side that defeated the Stormers last weekend away in Cape Town. An entirely changed front-row has been named as Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen, Run Dreye all drop to the bench. Their places have gone to Corne Fourie, Armand van der Merwe and Johannes Jonker.

An additional change sees Janse van Rensburg out. Missing die to injury the inside center position is to be taken by Harold Vorster on Friday. Additional changes have not been made and this includes the availability of Jaco Kriel who was freed of committing foul play.

Los Jaguares Head Coach, Raúl Pérez has made six alterations. Coming off an uninspiring loss against the Bulls, Pérez has made two changes to his pack and four in the backline.

Flanker Pablo Matera and No 8 Leonardo Senatore miss out on starting. Their places go to Tomás Lezana and Benjamín Macome respectively. The remainder of the pack is unchanged even though the formation in Monday’s training was vastly different.

In the backs the Ezcurra brothers are to make history by starting together. Felipe Ezcurra earns his first start of the season, taking over from Gonzalo Bertranou at scrum half. Brother Bautista is back on the wing with Ramiro Moyano switching to fullback.

Felipe Ezcurra is to partner Nicolás Sánchez in the halves. Sánchez is back to start with Santiago González Iglesias dropping out of the 23 altogether. The replacement fly half position this week will be Joaquín Díaz Bonilla. The Hindú pivot started in the season opener against the Southern Kings before being forced off with a concussion.

With Joaqúin Tuculet out with an eye injury Emiliano Boffelli is to be used as his cover. Boffelli will wear the number 23 shirt, doing so by offering cover at center, wing and fullback.

Having lost against the Bulls, Los Jaguares record against South African opposition continues to deteriorate. Of the 15 matches played Los Jaguares now have a winning record of under 50%. The Argentine side has won seven and lost eight.

Against both the Sharks and Bulls, Los Jaguares were unable to finish off opportunities. They managed just one try in both fixtures. Agustín Creevy scored against the Sharks and Gonzalo Bertranou did so against the Bulls.

Debuting against the Bulls was Enrique Pieretto. The Tight Head prop played for the first time since returning from suspension in 2016. He became the 33rd Jaguar used by Pérez in 2017. This week will not see any debutants but it will see Benjamín Macome earning his first ever start in Super Rugby.

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster , 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (Capt.), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Armand vam der Merwe, 1 Corne Fourie

Replacements: 16 Malcom Marx, 17- Jacques van Rooyen, 18- Run Dreyer, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22- Jacques Nel, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

1 Lucas Noguera Paz, 2 Agustín Creevy (Capt.), 3 Ramiro Herrera, 4 Guido Petti, 5 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomás Lezana, 7 Rodrigo Báez, 8 Benjamín Macome, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 11 Bautista Ezcurra, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 13 Matías Orlando, 14 Santiago Cordero, 15 Ramiro Moyano

Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 23 Emiliano Boffelli

Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 2pm (Argentina)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistants: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

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