Something isn’t right in Buenos Aires

Shop Roar Guru

By Shop, Shop is a Roar Guru

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    I was probably only one of maybe a few hundred spectators that took an interest in the Jaguares versus Kings game last weekend. Having adopted the Jaguares as my second team I was left disappointed to say the least.

    I’m sure tipsters weren’t all that impressed by the result either, the Jags should have put 50 plus points on the Kings as they did in Buenos Aires.

    For most of you who didn’t see the match there were two red cards given in the first half. The first to second rower Tomas Lavanini who put in a cheap no arms shot on a Kings player, which not only saw him take an early shower but denied his team what would have been his team’s first try at the same time. About 15 minutes later, a few minutes before half time, front rower Ramiro Herrera was shown a red for almost exactly the same thing. In similar fashion, his departure coincided with a reversed penalty.

    You’d think the second half would have been all one sided but somehow the Jaguares got their act together and outplayed the Kings for most of the second half. Still ahead by 12 points with ten minutes to go, it was then the referee handed the Jags a yellow card unfairly, which was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    The Kings scored three tries against 12 players and won 29-22. The truth is the Kings were woeful and were barely deserving of victory, however my main concern is what is going on at the Jaguares? SANZAAR should also be worried.

    As a new franchise from a new continent, the team from Buenos Aires holds much responsibility. They have a squad that has plenty of youth and experience and were even touted by some as finals contenders before the season started.

    They have been playing a reckless game plan that has probably cost them results but it isn’t this that concerns me, it is the appalling indiscipline they have shown throughout the season that is giving them a reputation of being the bad boys of the comp.

    I don’t have the stats, but I’d be surprised if they weren’t at the top of the table for yellow and red cards awarded and a citing for biting isn’t a good look either.

    Something is not right. I’m not sure if it is out of frustration, perhaps pay issues for those who have left Europe, difficulties with communication or the strenuous introduction to the Super Rugby format, but there needs to be a drastic change if the new franchise is going to succeed.

    Unfortunately for them there are very few refs that speak Spanish so they need a good (English) communicator to captain the side. The coach needs to be more accountable for his players’ actions (I’d be banning serial offender Lavanini for the rest of the year) and the team needs to realise that they are professionals playing in a competition that requires a professional attitude.

    With the right mindset, there is no way that the Jaguares would have lost against the Kings.

    Frankly, last weekend was an embarrassment and hopefully over the next month they’ll have time to reflect on their year so far and finish the last few rounds with some pride intact.

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    The Crowd Says (87)

    • Roar Guru

      June 1st 2016 @ 3:12am
      Harry Jones said | June 1st 2016 @ 3:12am | ! Report

      Shop, I know Carlos the Argie has been beating a drum for a long time about Levanini being taught to dial it back. My impression is that senior players and the coaches build a culture and a young guy like Levanini will fall in line.

      Going to the numbers:

      – The Jags are not the most penalised team (four SA teams are above them).
      – They ARE the most carded team (10 total; 8 yellows and 2 reds); their competition for cards is from the Reds and the Tahs.
      – They are missing tackles at a rate only exceeded by the Kings, Sunwolves, and Force (usually a sign of fragile morale).
      – Their handling has destroyed their attacking efficiency (208 handling errors; just behind the Cheetahs and Kings).

      My suspicion is to look at the leadership here; being carded a lot, missing tackles, sloppy handling. These are fixable problems for a strong coach/captain.

      • Roar Guru

        June 1st 2016 @ 6:13am
        Shop said | June 1st 2016 @ 6:13am | ! Report

        Thanks for that Harry, stats were never my strong point.

        As for Lavanini, I’m not sure what it will take for him to fall in line, but despite being a very talented player when he concentrates on rugby, his thuggary cost points and sometimes games like it did on the weekend. I’d prefer not to see him until he’s had a long time to think about his performances.

        • Roar Guru

          June 1st 2016 @ 6:20am
          Harry Jones said | June 1st 2016 @ 6:20am | ! Report

          Shop, I think the stats supported your points, so I added them.

          Levanini has all the physical tools to be a very good Test lock. I even like his mongrel spirit, but he will have to channel it better. I look at really top enforcer locks and they all have learned how to use their big bodies in the best way to help their team by channeling their aggression. Levanini could copy Paul O’Connell (manic aggression!)

    • June 1st 2016 @ 3:45am
      Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 3:45am | ! Report

      I will write what I know. Those two red cards over the weekend are signs of frustration. What is the frustration about? Money. Some of the players were convinced by A. Pichot not to take contracts in Europe and that the money that were leaving on the table for playing for the Jaguares will be compensated by bonuses, adv. commercials and games for The Pumas. So far the bonuses are not there because the results are not there and commercials just benefited Sanchez , Tuculet and Creevy. Lavanini, Cordero, Herrera, Matera, and some others have left important offers to play in SR. The traveling became far more difficult than expected, players like Hernandez are not performing and other things like Cordero and Moroni have been taken to lay 7s and some of the players think that undermines their possibilities of wining. The other problem is the coaching staff, Perez sees Felipe Contemponi as a potential competitor for the job and Felipe has undergoing some personal problems that is affecting the team and some of the player that are taking sides. Sanchez was offered a job in Lyon and the directors of UAR have been raising some legal docs that prevented him to leave so far but his not happy since the money offered to him is twice what he makes in SR. You can sense all these problems on the field and specially when they are on the road, when they play here in Buenos Aires the players have to much pride and play their best infant of their home crowd. In terms of adaptation they are struggling adapting to SR interpretation of the laws and they feel everybody is against them, even the local TV is showing things like the penalty try awarded to Kings from the scrum and compare to the three scrums they had against the Sharks and the ref did not make the call. This one and another situations are frustrating a team that is already frustrated. Now they have to face the window and the RCH with the same team just with the addition of Cubelli who is probably very happy about his decision to move to Brumbies. It does not look good, but this window is important for the ranking and future groups of RWC.

      • June 1st 2016 @ 6:12am
        Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 6:12am | ! Report

        Moderation for what?

        • Roar Guru

          June 1st 2016 @ 6:46am
          Harry Jones said | June 1st 2016 @ 6:46am | ! Report

          Buenas tardes, Nobrain. So, Creevy, Tuculet, and Sanchez are the only ones getting TV/print ad money? Are those ad campaigns through UAR, or private companies?

          • Roar Guru

            June 1st 2016 @ 7:20am
            Carlos the Argie said | June 1st 2016 @ 7:20am | ! Report

            There are more money issues and business deals that we can actually discuss in this forum. Pichot was somewhat too close for comfort to the previous political party, which was totally into corruption. Pichot is the Don Corleone of Argie rugby, nothing moves with our his imprimatur, even if he has no actual position at UAR or URBA.

            A few weeks ago, a famous Argentine journalist compared him with the old soccer boss, who died after being in power for decades, and very involved with corruption with FIFA. The UAR through its president reacted very strongly defending Pichot. It was an innocent moment that got a huge reaction.

            Jaguares are his toy, he names and dismisses. He can be brilliant or a bully. Or both.

            Nothing Nobrain mentions surprises me.

            And Felipe has no experience coaching (at this level) and none at SR. Why is he there? Name alone?

          • June 1st 2016 @ 7:46am
            Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 7:46am | ! Report

            When UAR gets a comercial for example. Assist -card, for 1.8 myn pesos, A. Pichot does rhe negociation himself and decides 800 m for Sanchez the rest for UAR. Have you ever asked yourself why NIKE has only one team and national out there? NIke does not care about rugby worlwide, but somehow after a lifetime endorser ADIDAS lost it to NIKE Who do you think runs ESPN rugby in Argentina and decides all the contracts ? A. PICHOT! Yes the VP of WR. He got us here but a price that he is the onlyone who decides what the bill is. Let me telll you a little story, in the second RCH that the Pumas played , while playing in Rosario against AUS Pichot went into the locker room at half time screaming to the players. One of the players that was with him in RWC 2007 told him to get out of the lockerroom that is place for players and coaches and remind him he used to tell the same to UAR people when he was a captain. Agustin left, but that player was never called again to wear the Pumas shirt. That is the way he runs things here.

            • Roar Guru

              June 1st 2016 @ 8:38am
              Carlos the Argie said | June 1st 2016 @ 8:38am | ! Report

              Nobrain, and you know who is Nike’s person for rugby, right? Try an ex-Pueyrredon, tall guy, used to play lock. Italian name.

              • June 1st 2016 @ 8:49am
                Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 8:49am | ! Report

                I know more about that what I willing to tell, one of them is my best friend and there is no way I will tell him away.

          • June 1st 2016 @ 7:49am
            Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 7:49am | ! Report

            Sorry Harry for the delay, but the moderator is up again.

            • Roar Guru

              June 1st 2016 @ 8:01am
              Harry Jones said | June 1st 2016 @ 8:01am | ! Report

              No problemo. I believe it’s your skipper’s name. Not sure why. Maybe it rhymes w something shady

      • June 1st 2016 @ 10:44am
        Markus said | June 1st 2016 @ 10:44am | ! Report

        An eye-opening read there, Nobrain. Consistency is as much mental as anything else, so it is no surprise that the team are struggling with consistency in such an environment at present. It makes the Brumbies off-field problems this season seem like an argument on what to have for dinner in comparison.

    • June 1st 2016 @ 4:28am
      John said | June 1st 2016 @ 4:28am | ! Report

      Test rugby is different to Super 15. I wonder if they’ve joined a comp and expected it to be the same as TRC but are finding the refereeing to be more stringent? What would be warnings or penalties are yellow and red cards. My two cents ….

      • Roar Guru

        June 1st 2016 @ 4:58am
        Shop said | June 1st 2016 @ 4:58am | ! Report

        I agree John, the RC is massively different from Super rugby. Squad sizes, preparation time and time on the road and playing week in week out for a 15 week season is hugely different. Still there appears to be a lot of frustration in their on field attitude which I think is more to blame than referee interpretation. A couple of the (yellow) cards this year I believe have been harsh but they still have terrible disciplinary record.

        • June 1st 2016 @ 5:58am
          Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 5:58am | ! Report

          Sorry Shop but my comment has been waiting moderation for such a long time and I do not why.

          • Roar Guru

            June 1st 2016 @ 6:18am
            Shop said | June 1st 2016 @ 6:18am | ! Report

            Looking forward to your thoughts NB, haven’t seen the comment yet..?

      • Roar Guru

        June 1st 2016 @ 6:04am
        Harry Jones said | June 1st 2016 @ 6:04am | ! Report

        I don’t think that explains enough of what Shop, Carlos, and others have mentioned. Almost any test ref would have red carded Herrera and Levanini for what they did last week: out in the wide open, ramming heads with shoulders unbound, with a fair amount of speed and intention, with no real excuse. And that came against a borderline amateur team with a Kiwi ref, after months of talking heads from the Jaguares camp saying they were going to tighten up discipline. After the Senatore affair, it must surely have been Talking Point number one as they approached such a winnable game.

        I think you look at coaches and senior players: Why aren’t the young players listening?

    • Roar Guru

      June 1st 2016 @ 5:06am
      Carlos the Argie said | June 1st 2016 @ 5:06am | ! Report

      Look, the issue of discipline is endemic in Argie society. Shop, I think you live in Mendoza so you can see with your own eyes that the society overall has discipline issues. The team represents the way the society is functioning.

      In addition, I don’t know much about the coach besides that he has been an obscure lieutenant for Hourcade. I don’t see much exposure to international rugby and to Super 15 (now 18) overall.

      I cannot accept the issue of tougher referees, or lots of travel or law interpretations etc. Or the language barrier. To me, this shows an utter disrespect for planning as an essential activity at all elite levels. Not only rugby. In my write up, I mentioned that there appears to be nobody helping the Jaguares from SANZAR to adjust to S18. They should have spent a lot of time figuring out each ref, each team, everything. They could have hired some of the”consultants” (I shudder at the use of the word) to help them “lubricate” the process so they wouldn’t get …shafted.

      The stadiums where they play at home are a visible example of the lack of planning and forethought all together. As I said in the write up, didn’t they know they had to play at home a long time ago? Where are they going to play next year?

      The whole thing is a fiasco. The Argie mentality may make it better for them to perform in “short” tournaments where they can stay focused, like the RWC or the 4N, but in SR, planning, thinking and execution are keys they demonstrate they don’t have. Long tournaments require this, physical and mental stamina PLUS excellent planning.

      My heart wanted the Jaguares to do well, my brain told me otherwise. I should listen to my brain more often.

      • June 1st 2016 @ 5:11am
        Valar said | June 1st 2016 @ 5:11am | ! Report

        I agree, Carlos if you know the whole CASI stadium fiasco you must surely also know that they started planning the whole thing in August. It just shows a total lack of management capabilities. No vision,

        • June 1st 2016 @ 7:56am
          Nobrain said | June 1st 2016 @ 7:56am | ! Report

          Wrong, he Agustin had the vision of makng money out of this deal with CASI, however all club members that know him since he was a kid, let me remind you that CASI is where Agustin played before takinh off to Europe, voted against using the club for SR. He had to go out and spend money in Velez that want it to use for something else.

      • Roar Guru

        June 1st 2016 @ 5:31am
        Shop said | June 1st 2016 @ 5:31am | ! Report

        Thanks Carlos, you’ve actually touched on something that I wanted to focus on more in the article – SANZAAR has invested time and money in the expansion and I believe they’ve been a bit naive thinking that an Argentine franchise will run smoothly without some intervention on their part. Just because the sport is popular doesn’t mean it will be an easy place to stamp their territory. They need to be proactive in making the setup is viable for the long term. Long term isn’t always a priority in Argentina…

        And yes, there are plenty of discipline issues with society in Mendoza, exaggerated siesta hours is especially a problem!!

        • Roar Guru

          June 1st 2016 @ 8:41am
          Carlos the Argie said | June 1st 2016 @ 8:41am | ! Report

          Shop, what do you mean about siestas being a problem? Societies that have siestas enjoy a longer life, less stress, fewer cardiovascular issues, etc.

          And it is not only Argies and other countries on the Mediterranean, even my “southern” wife (North Carolina) swears about the value of siestas, especially on Saturday afternoon. (Great for my SR watching). But she calls them naps.

          • Roar Guru

            June 1st 2016 @ 10:13am
            Shop said | June 1st 2016 @ 10:13am | ! Report

            I’m a huge fan of la siesta Carlos! The only thing that happens efficiently and on time in Mendoza is closing up for siesta time. It is probably the best thing that has been adopted from the Spanish. Unfortunately the driving gene has come from the Italians….

          • June 2nd 2016 @ 2:36pm
            pjm said | June 2nd 2016 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

            A Saturday, not a Tuesday.

        • June 1st 2016 @ 10:36am
          ClarkeG said | June 1st 2016 @ 10:36am | ! Report

          Would have thought Greg Peters coming on board from SANZAAR would have made a difference. ?

    • June 1st 2016 @ 5:07am
      Valar said | June 1st 2016 @ 5:07am | ! Report

      Its a hard topic to analyze to be honest. I genuinely thing its a mix of being overwhelmed by the whole concept and an underwhelming performance, leading to poor Morale and poor discipline.

      It will be interesting to see how they perform during the June Internationals.

    • June 1st 2016 @ 5:50am
      DanFan said | June 1st 2016 @ 5:50am | ! Report

      Remember that the Jaguares have no experience of Super Rugby, The Sunwolves have a coach who has coached in Super Rugby and a number of players also, including the no. 10 Pisi who is controlling the game well. Even the much-maligned Kings have players with Super rugby experience. It has obviously been a tremendously difficult step for Argentenian rugby and one which we can now see they were perhaps somewhat ill-prepared for. I think they could do with some coaching assistance (and maybe a couple of players) that come from a Super rugby background. The travel and the week-to-week demands take some getting used to and I think we take it for granted that Nz, Aus and SA teams have had 20 years of this. The Jaguares are learning some harsh lessons and let’s hope for their sake that they can adapt pretty quickly. But as they say, it won’t happen overnight or one season for that matter,

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