Jaguares coach Gonzalo Quesada says a policy of rotation and the backing of youth is his answer to keeping the team fresh over the marathon that is Super Rugby. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Jaguares coach Gonzalo Quesada says a policy of rotation and the backing of youth is his answer to keeping the team fresh over the marathon that is Super Rugby. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Jaguares know Sharks are tough to beat

By Mike Greenaway Time of article published Mar 3, 2020

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Jaguares coach Gonzalo Quesada says a policy of rotation and the backing of youth is his answer to keeping the team fresh over the marathon that is Super Rugby.

Despite losing a number of last year’s senior players, the Argentinians have been relatively successful so far in 2020, having beaten the Lions, Reds and Bulls.

“Like South Africa, we have a lot of players tempted by Europe ... quite a few players are leaving,” said Quesada.

“If you want to call it some kind of formula, we work very hard on our young players, the Under-18s and Under-20s.

“We don’t hold back in preparing them for Super Rugby, and then give them opportunities.

“We like to give rotation - we had nine changes for the Bulls game (from the match against the Stormers). Rotation is a risk but we feel it is working for us.

“The players are competitive, they have to perform to keep their place but at the same time they are not overplayed. There is good, healthy competition in the team and the players know there is no owner of any jersey.”

Quesada played 33 Tests for the Pumas at flyhalf and admits it is going to be difficult to unlock the Sharks’ rush defence at Jonsson Kings Park on Saturday.

“The Sharks fly super quick at you, it is a very tough defence and you have almost no time or space for decision-making, so we have to be smart in how we deal with it ... but if you play around it, it can also be risky for them.”

Quesada remarked that all of the SA teams defend similarly, so in seeing off the Bulls’ defence for a try-scoring bonus point in the 39-24 win was “a good step forward”.

“Our Conference is absolutely competitive - we knew how tough it would be before the tournament kicked off, and it is being confirmed each week.

“We now must go to Durban to play a Sharks team that is very confident. You have to work hard every single week to be at your best because you never know when you will have the game-changing opportunities to secure the game. You have to be aware all the time ...” he added.

Quesada is presiding over a rebuilding Jaguares team and he feels that his team passed a test against the Bulls.

“This game was good for our confidence. There were a couple of moments when you could see the guys were uncertain, but they hung tough and came through.

“They showed a lot of heart to get the bonus point.”

The coach said that the Sharks are playing “amazing rugby”.

“We know how hard those tours of New Zealand and Australia are, yet we can see how confident the Sharks are - they made changes every game but still performed. Our main concern is their defence because they give little options so, like I say, we have to be very smart on Saturday,” he concluded.

Mike Greenaway

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