Scrumhalf Martín Landajo holds the key to the Jaguares' attacking success against the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Friday, writes JON CARDINELLI.
The Kings have struggled in their comeback season. The Eastern Cape franchise currently sits at the foot of the South African group, and has conceded more points (505) and tries (71) than any other team.
They've lost 10 of their 11 matches to date. On most occasions, they've been well beaten. They're yet to lose by seven points or less and claim a consolatory bonus point.
One cannot see them beating the Jaguares in Port Elizabeth on Friday. The Argentinian side has battled for results in their debut season, but have been competitive. They're currently ranked sixth in the tournament for tries (36).
The Kings have to contain the Jaguares attack this Friday if they hope to take any log points away from this clash. The Kings forwards have to meet the challenge of the Jaguares at the breakdown. They also need to limit the space of Landajo, who has been one of the stars for the Jaguares in their inaugural Super Rugby tournament.
According to SARugbymag.co.za's Opta-powered stats, the explosive scrumhalf has already beaten 14 defenders this season and has four try-assists. He will be hard to stop if the Jaguares are on the front foot.
They have beaten an average of 25.2 defenders per game so far this season. Only the Lions (27.5) have beaten more.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Jaguares 1, Kings 0
In Port Elizabeth: n/a
STATS AND FACTS
– The last time these teams met, the Jaguares scored 73 points against the South African side, the equal ninth most by a team in Super Rugby history.
– All three of the Kings’ home wins in Super Rugby have come against teams from outside South Africa, the last of which came in round six this season against the Sunwolves.
– The Jaguares have lost their last six away games since an opening-round victory away to the Cheetahs, conceding an average of 34 points per game in those six games.
|Team||Top point-scorer||Top try-scorer||Most metres gained||Most tackles|
|Kings||Louis Fouché (61)||Chris Cloete (4)||Shane Gates (373)||CJ Velleman (115)|
|Jaguares||Nicolás Sánchez (89)||Martín Landajo (6)||Emiliano Boffelli (384)||Matías Alemanno (70)|
Kings – 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Dewald Human, 23 JP du Plessis.
Jaguares – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Segundo Tuculet, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Santiago García Botta.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Photo: Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images