Cape Town - The
Kings will hope they can once again contain a fierce Jaguares side when
they host the South Americans in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Kings were the perennial whipping-boys of 2016 and seemed mainly
in the competition just to make up the numbers but, in all fairness, did
the have odds stacked against them from the outset.
Off-field financial dramas plagued them, while not being given nearly
enough time to prepare for Super Rugby and assemble a team as their
inclusion was announced so late all hampering their chances. It also
didn't help that the Kings had to play the New Zealand sides in their
first year of Super Rugby which was never going to be conducive to a
This year, however, they have some stability in their side that should set them up for a better and more fruitful 2017.
Some names have stuck with the franchise such as Schalk Ferreira,
Waylon Murray and CJ Velleman which will definitely benefit their
prospects, while the signing and promoting of local talent should help
get the Eastern Cape crowd re-invested in the Southern Kings.
And a game against an old foe, who they won against last year, is the
perfect way to get their season started if they can emulate their home
game against the Jaguares rather than their 73-27 hammering away in
The Jaguares will be eager for an opportunity to get
one over the Kings after last season's loss. They under-performed in
general in 2016 and considering the bountiful talent they have in their
squad they should fare a lot better this season.
Jaguares coach Raul Pérez believes he picked the best side to face
the Kings this weekend, despite a number of leading names missing
through injury such as Nicolás Sánchez and the franchise having released
the highly-talented Facundo Isa earlier this week.
"We think that these 23 players are the most suitable for the rival
that we are going to have on Saturday and of course the players deserve
to be there," said Pérez.
"Our goal is to go through each game and improve our performance. We
hope to be able to solidify what we did in practice on game day with
"We have good expectations and we know that we will have to fix some
small details, after the first game, but I think we had a very good
Kings head coach Deon Davids stressed the importance of beginning the Kings’ campaign on a winning start.
"For us, it is important to go out there full of confidence in
ourselves and what we can bring. We understand that we are playing
against a quality side," Davids said.
"We will have to focus a lot on ourselves, in terms of what we want
to bring and how we will do it. We are looking forward to expressing
ourselves and seeing our experienced players as well as the young ones
getting out there and making use of the opportunity of playing Super
The last time these teams met: The Kings beat the
Jaguares 29-22 in Port Elizabeth. It was a dramatic game of rugby as the
Kings managed to score four tries to one and overcame a Jaguares
comeback. The South Americans were heavily handy capped though as they
copped two red cards as well as a yellow cards which impeded their
Players to watch: It will be Malcolm Jaer's
second year in Super Rugby and with some maturity behind his freakishly
quick feet, the young Kings flyer might come into his own this year. He
runs fantastic supports lines, while, despite his small size remains an
Isa has left big shoes to fill at the Argentine side but the calm and cool head of Leonardo Senatore can
be a worthwhile replacement. Senatore is a strong ball-carrier as well
as effective in the set pieces and provides leadership in a Jaguares
teams still finding their footing in premier Southern Hemisphere rugby.
If the Jaguares find themselves in a repeat of last season in Port
Elizabeth, Senatore could be the man to guide them out of dangerous
Team news: The Kings held onto some experience and
strong talent from 2017. Loosehead prop Schalk Ferreira retains the
captaincy and leads a team mixed with experience and youth. The addition
of Highlanders prop Ross Geldenhuys to their front row should benefit
them against a traditionally strong Argentine front row. Their backline
is a little short on caps though which might lead to them struggling
against a mostly internationally tested Jaguares backline.
The Jaguares are currently injury-fraught with the loss of some key
players in fly-half Sánchez, centre Juan Martín Hernández and scrum-half
Martín Landajo which will definitely hurt them going into the game. The
invaluable experience will be sorely missed. They have some young guns
wondering into the clearing that could have a make or break fixture this
Form: The Kings go into the game with some
pre-season momentum after two matches against the SWD Eagles and Border
Bulldogs. The Kings won both matches convincingly.
The Jaguares are also on a hot streak after two pre-season fixtures
in January against the Uruguay international side as well as an
Argentina XV, which the Jaguares won both.
2016: Kings won 29-22 in Port Elizabeth
2016: Jaguares won 73-27 in Buenos Aires
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruan Lerm, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Mzwanele Zito, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Chris Cloete, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Masixole 'Coyi' Banda, 23 Luzuko VulindluJaguares
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Joaquín Díaz Bonilla, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Felipe Arregui, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera Paz
Substitutes: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Cristian Bartoloni, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano
Date: Saturday, February 25
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)