No surprise, after superb form at home and away, that sees the Jaguares flying high at the top of the South African Conference in 2019.
The South American representative is now in a position to contest their first ever home semifinal, after a clear victory away to the NSW Waratahs on Saturday. Winning 15-23, they denied the hosts a bonus point and heaped more pressure on the Australian side.
It continued one of the more impressive recent histories of success away from home; for any side [apart from the Crusaders, Lions, and Hurricanes]. The win over the ‘Tahs added to victories over the Hurricanes and Bulls this season. Add that to wins over Melbourne Rebels, Blues, and Chiefs last year.
The ups & downs of rugby.#Jaguares on the up, with yet more wins away from home.
This time, at the expense of the #Waratahs who are now down and out of the Top 8 standings.@SuperRugby entering the final few rounds before the finals series pic.twitter.com/yD7JNAV5fC
— LWOSRugby (@LWOSRugby) May 26, 2019
Jaguares flying high at top of South African Conference
Rising from a side who few teams feared in 2016, now the Jaguares are a real threat. Each new achievement seems to embolden the South American team. And all for the better of the competition.
When the Sunwolves were cast-aside in the Super Rugby reconfigured draw, it was a decision that undermined SANZAAR expansion. But now with the Jaguares flying high at the top of the South African conference, it is proof that the ‘experiment has rewarded the game’.
It has broadened the fan base, with enthusiasm growing in latin America. Only natural when your team is winning but, those are rugby fans who will support both Los Pumas and all the variations of the game; Sevens, U20s and regional and club sides.
Not to say that Argentina does not already have a rugby-mad fan base. They do. One that is emotional and passionate, so when you report how the Jaguares flying high in Super Rugby is news….they will answer “well, naturally!”
Yet it is the style of rugby which is gathering more fans for the Jags.
Jags growing supporter base Worldwide
However difficult it might be for Europeans to pronounce Ja-gua-res [no disrespect], it is very easy to be attracted to the teams type of play.
While it began with ‘wild enthusiasm’ in 2016 with Daniel Hourcade, the introduction of Mario Ledesma last year was a monumental step forward. And now, with Gonzalo Quesada at the helm, it appears that the upward trend is continuing.
¡Triunfazo en Wellington!
— JaguaresARG (@JaguaresARG) May 17, 2019
Each time they arrive on a foreign field, Argentine fans put on the orange of the Jaguares; or more commonly, the blue and white hoops of Argentina. It is a calling together, and when the Jags play well, the volume goes it.
The players are also key to the current success. Hardened Internationals like Agustin Creevy, the elusive Ramiro Moyano, along with the developing talents of Jeronimo De La Fuente and Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, are helping to lead this franchises growth.
Leading South African Super Rugby conference
Breaking new ground is the feature of leading the South African conference.
— RugbyRocks (@rugby_rocks) May 25, 2019
With a total of eight wins, it is only one short of their total for last season. And having completed their bye rounds, the team can aim to add three more to that tally in 2019.
Watching the Jaguares flying high, it is a credit to the side’s confidence. This side has accomplished more than in any season since their inception. Now leading the race to the conference winners trophy, being chased hard by the likes of the Sharks, Bulls, and Lions. Can they continue, and host a first-ever home semifinal?
With these next three fixtures, that goal might be another step to making even more history.
Round 16 – Reds v Jaguares. May 31, Suncorp Stadium
Round 17 – Jaguares v Sharks. June 9, Estadio José Amalfitani
Round 18 – Jaguares v Sunwolves. June 15, Estadio José Amalfitani
“Main photo credit”
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