The Jaguares have always been spoken of highly because their set up states that if you want to represent Los Pumas, you need to play your rugby in the country. So, the only path to national honours is really through the Jaguares, meaning that it is indeed a Test team.
Coach Robert du Preez is well aware of this fact too, noting that the team his side are preparing to play tomorrow (Friday) night, 9.40pm, is essentially the Argentine national side, and certainly the side in the competition which has the most internationals in it.
This obviously speaks as to how tough the challenge will be, in front of such a patriotic rugby country, with their best stars involved, but even more so, the Jaguares have put their house in order. The potential and promise has always been there with the Jaguares, but now, they have finally turned that latent ability into tangible results. Wins away from home, a thrashing of the Bulls, and second spot on the African log all speaks of the progress they have made.
“They are a very physical team, and they are well balanced,” Du Preez said from Argentina. “We are playing against a Test team, I mean, that is the Argentina national team.
“They have got really good players in every position, and you have seen what they did to the Bulls. So, if you do not man up, or pitch on the day, it is going to be a long evening. We are well prepared, we believe we can beat them, I have no doubt we can beat them.”
The coach has every right to be confident after his side managed a good win over a determined, if not understrength Chiefs team last weekend. But more than feeling confident, there is a noted desperation coming from the Sharks camp as they know wins are pure gold as the season starts to wraps up.
“Winning is everything, it is everything to play for,” Du Preez said. “We're desperate to win this game and that's what we're going to do. There's no breathing space on the log, so we have to win every game.”
The Sharks know they have a few areas that need to be shored up, namely their opportunity taking. They were in total control against the Chiefs, yet they only came away with a four-point win. It could have, and should have, been so much more but for some silly errors in try scoring regions which the coach has spoken about before.
“There is just the one area we need to fix up and that is we have created a few opportunities, and missed them. There were three certain missed tries in the Chiefs game, so we have to work hard on converting those.
“Other than that, I think it was a good performance by the boys. Our exit plays, which were a problem from the week before was much better and I was much happier.”
The Sharks remained unchanged from that winning performance against the Chiefs, with the entire matchday 23 getting another chance to impress. The only notable absentee, from the squad that travelled is Chiliboy Ralepelle who is going to be involved with the Springboks.