Super Rugby Preview: The Jaguares
Of all the newcomers to Investec Super Rugby in 2016 the Argentine Jaguares appear the best equipped to make an immediate impact in the competition.
Home: Buenos Aires
Last season: New team
Best finish: New team
Matias Alemanno, Agustin Creevy, Ramiro Herrera, Facundo Usa, Tomas Lavanini, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera, Julian Montoya, Lucas Noguera, Javier Ortega Desio, Guido Petti, Leonardo Senatore, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Santiago Garcia Botta, Juan Cruz Guillemain, Tomas Lezana, Rodrigo Baez
Santiago Cordero, Jeronimo de la Fuente, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Juan Martin Hernandez, Martin Landajo, Matias Moroni, Nicolas Sanchez, Joaquin Tuculet, Gabriel Ascarate, Emiliano Boffelli, Manuel Montero, Ramiro Moyano, Matias Orlando
Having such an experienced player as Juan Martin Hernandez on hand for the side's inaugural season in Super Rugby is a huge bonus. He will be a key influence on the side, directing play from first five-eighths. He has Super Rugby experience, with the Sharks in 2009, and in France played for Stade Francais, Racing Metro and Toulon.
Lock Tomas Lavanini has a huge role to play in the advance of the Jaguares through their early years of involvement in Super Rugby. Aged 23, he has already shaped as a significant locking force in the international game and has already notched 27 Tests since his debut in 2013. He had a season with Racing Metro in 2014-15 but the chance to play at home is a key opportunity for him to make a big impact.
A player like Agustin Creevy must have wondered if he would ever have the chance to play professional rugby in his homeland, but that opportunity has arrived and with his experience from 46 Test matches and for playing for Biarritz, Montpellier and Worcester he has mixed it with the best when it comes to forward play and that will be invaluable for the tournament newcomers.
The fact that many of the Jaguares players have had the benefit of playing together at international level already makes them a formidable threat even in this first year of play in Super Rugby. They have great power up front and developing confidence among their backs that should make them a genuine handful as their familiarity with the travel requirements grow. They could easily be the biggest mover of the year.