PREVIEW: Jaguares v Crusaders

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Friday, April 6, 2018    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match details: Jaguares v Crusaders, Buenos Aires, April 8 (NZT), 9.40am

Played: 1
Won: Jaguares 0 Crusaders 1
Last time: Jaguares 15-32 Crusaders, AMI Stadium, April 15, 2016


Beaten 20-28 in their opening round by the Stormers, the Jaguares then lost their first game to the Lions 27-47. With the Hurricanes hitting them with a 9-34 loss, they turned it around by beating the Waratahs 38-28 before losing again to the Reds 7-18. But in their second game against the Lions, this time at home, they claimed a 49-35 win. The Crusaders have had their moments this season. They beat the Chiefs 45-23 and the Stormers 45-28 but then went down to the Hurricanes 19-29 and the Highlanders 17-25. There was time to get back in the winner's circle with a 33-14 win over the Bulls and their hard-fought 14-8 win over the Lions last weekend.


Keeping the pressure on the Crusaders to perform is the news that their injured players are starting to prepare to return to the side. Tighthead prop Owen Franks will be playing for his Linwood club on Saturday, loosehead prop Joe Moody will play for Lincoln while fullback-wing Israel Dagg is turning out for University. With the success the side has achieved, especially in South Africa against the Lions, the returning All Blacks will have plenty to step up to when regaining their places, while the Crusaders head into the second half of the competition knowing some of their younger players have received invaluable experience.


Jaguares skipper and flanker Pablo Matera has led the way for his side and while tryless so far, he has made 69 carries, the most of any player yet to score a try this year and good enough to sit in fourth place overall. His side also have some impressive statistical advantages over the Crusaders. In carries they have 117.3 against 103.8 for the Crusaders. In metres made they lead 414.5-393.8, in clean breaks they have a slight edge 10.3:10.2 and in defenders beaten they have 24.2:19.8. However, defensively they slip behind. They have 119.2 tackles to 121.8 by the Crusaders. Their missed tackles are 30.5:23.8 and they have conceded 16 turnovers to 14.7, and 11.3 penalties to 10.7. The Crusaders have the superior scrum success 88:75 and lineouts 82:79.


The Jaguares have made a habit of getting good starts to their games and have a cumulative points differential of +35 in the first quarter of their games this season. That's the best of any side. The downside is they are the only side to have a negative points difference in each of the three remaining quarters.


The Jaguares have never beaten a New Zealand side and have conceded 30 or more points in all but one of their previous six games against New Zealand teams (Opta).


Jaguares: 1.Santiago Garcia Botta, 2.Agustin Creevy, 3.Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 4.Matias Alemanno, 5.Tomas Lavanini, 6.Pablo Matera (captain), 7.Marcos Kremer, 8.Javier Ortega Desio, 9.Gonzalo Bertranou, 10.Nicolas Sanchez, 11.Emiliano Boffelli, 12.Bautista Ezcurra, 13.Matias Orlando, 14.Bautista Delguy, 15.Joaquin Tuculet.

Substitutes: 16.Julian Montoya, 17.Felipe Arregui, 18.Joan Pablo Zeiss, 19.Guido Petti, 20.Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21.Martin Landajo, 22.Jeronimo de la Fuente, 23.Ramiro Moyano.

Crusaders: 1.Tim Perry, 2.Codie Taylor, 3.Michael Alaalatoa, 4.Luke Romano, 5.Sam Whitelock (captain), 6.Tom Sanders, 7.Matt Todd, 8.Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 9.Bryn Hall, 10.Mitchell Hunt, 11.George Bridge, 12.Ryan Crotty, 13.Tim Bateman, 14.Manasa Mataele, 15.David Havili.

Substitutes: 16.Ben Funnell, 17.Donald Brighouse, 18.Chris King, 19.Quinten Strange, 20.Pete Samu, 21.Mitchell Drummond, 22.Mike Delany, 23.Braydon Ennor.