Lowdown on Super Rugby sides Stomers and Jaguares
Super Ruby starts next week and TMG Digital Reporter Craig Ray gives a lowdown on The Stomers and Jaguares.
Coach: Robbie Fleck
Captain: To be named on Monday
2016 Ranking: Topped Africa 1 Conference and second in overall SA group‚ lost 60-21 to the Chiefs in home quarterfinal.
What to expect in 2017: Much has been made of the inclusion of New Zealand skills coach Paul Feeney to the management set up and as a result there is an expectation that the Stormers will deliver more tries this season.
With five matches against New Zealand opposition‚ three away from home‚ the Stormers’ schedule is far more difficult than it was in 2016 when they only played Australian sides due to the complicated tournament structure.
The Stormers have shown glimpses of good form in the pre-season‚ scoring 25 tries in three matches. But coach Fleck admitted that too much mustn’t be read into those results.
Key for the Stormers will be at flyhalf where they are hoping the first choice duo of Jean-Luc du Plessis and Kurt Coleman stay fit throughout the campaign. Both missed last year’s play-off against the Chiefs‚ which ended in a heavy drubbing.
The pack again looks solid‚ which is built around locks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Eben Etzebeth.
Prospects in 2017: Topping Africa 1 again and making the semi-finals.
Coach: Raul Perez
Captain: Agustin Creevy
2016 Ranking: Failed to make play-offs‚ finishing third in Africa 2. Only won four of 15 games.
What to expect in 2017: The Jaguares were a disappointment in their debut season last year‚ especially after fielding most of the Pumas team that made the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
Ill-discipline was their biggest downfall in 2016‚ which saw them earn eight yellow cards and two reds. If they improve that aspect of their play‚ they’ll immediately be better.
The Jaguares were also caught between two styles of play last season after the Pumas had so much success with a more expansive approach.
The Jaguares tried to take the same template into Super Rugby‚ but with injuries and inexperience‚ the complex gameplan came unstuck.
The squad is more experienced and has more player depth after a period of acclimatising for the non-Pumas players last season‚ while those fringe players are better versed in the game plan strategy.
Further good news is that the Jaguares are not drawn against NZ opposition in the pool phase while eight of their 15 matches are at home.
“The immediate challenge is to be able to field all the experience we accumulated in 2016‚” coach Raul Perez said.
“Returning to compete in the most important and demanding tournament in the world is itself‚ very different.”
Prospects in 2017: Challenging for a play-off berth
- TMG Digital