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.