‘Jaguars could win Super Rugby’

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver believes the Jaguars will be serious title contenders in their debut season.

Argentina’s new franchise is largely made up of their Test players who were part of the 2015 World Cup squad that surprised many by reaching the semi-final stage.

‘We're nervous that Argentina could win the damn thing,’ Pulver said. ‘They have a lot of their Test players in this Super Rugby team and they will be seriously competitive.’

The revamped 2016 tournament includes a four conference system – two from South Africa (Africa 1 and Africa 2) and one each from Australia and New Zealand. The Jaguars are strong favourites to advance as winners of the seemingly weaker of the two African conferences that includes the Kings, Lions and Sharks, or at least as one of the four qualifying teams with the log points from the regular season.

The Jaguars get their 2016 Super Rugby campaign under way on 26 February against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. They will face teams in their own pool home and away, the teams in the other African conference and all five New Zealand teams.

Jaguars squad – Matías Alemanno, Gabriel Ascárate, Rodrigo Báez, Emiliano Boffelli, Santiago Cordero, Agustín Creevy, Juan Cruz Guillemaín, Jerónimo de la Fuente, Santiago García Botta, Santiago González Iglesias, Ramiro Herrera, Facundo Isa, Martín Landajo, Tomás Lavanini, Tomás Lezana, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Juan Martín Hernández, Manuel Montero, Julián Montoya, Matías Moroni, Ramiro Moyano, Lucas Noguera Paz, Matías Orlando, Javier Ortega Desio, Guido Petti, Nicolás Sánchez, Leonardo Senatore, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Joaquín Tuculet.

Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images