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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s Jaguares are on the up but will need to stamp out indiscipline if they are to thrive in their second season in Super Rugby, winger Matias Orlando told Reuters.
The Jaguares won their season opener 39-26 against Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth before losing 32-25 to the stronger Stormers in Cape Town last weekend, scoring three tries in each encounter.
Yet they picked two yellow cards in both games and will need to improve their discipline when they face the Lions, runners-up last year, in their first home match at Velez Sarsfield this Saturday (1940 GMT).
“To return from a tour as visitors with five points is good. We wanted to bring all the points home with us and we were close,” Orlando said in an interview after Tuesday’s practice in Buenos Aires.
"But we know that the yellow cards are a problem for us today, two matches four yellows is a lot and last year we had a bad experience with yellows,” added Orlando, who played on the wing against Kings and moved to outside centre against Stormers.
“There are moments in the match when we don’t control our emotions and we react impulsively like sticking out a hand when we shouldn’t, we know we should not tackle high... it’s more by instinct than thinking,” said the 25-year-old.
Yet Orlando believes the Jaguares are on the right track, with discipline improving as they learn to identify problems and become better organised defensively.
“In terms of the number of infringements I think we are much better but then the seriousness of the infringements we commit end up being yellow cards,” he said.
“We used to have a lot of indiscipline in defence and it was because we were disorganised. Now our defence has changed, it’s much more orderly and it shows, the number of infringements has diminished...
“I think it’s easier to correct now because we know where we are in the wrong.”
Orlando believes that some of their discipline problems are the result of an adventurous style of play that has won them and Argentina's national team many admirers.
“In the last few years we have become a team that takes risks and that lack of fear of making mistakes allows us to do great things, but maybe also we overdo that keenness to take risks,” Orlando said.
“We have to learn to control when we can take risks... and I think little by little we are making better decisions when to move the ball out or when to kick.”
Pumas coach Daniel Hourcade has changed the national team's style of play from a forward-dominated game, which reached its peak with Argentina’s third place at the 2007 World Cup, to an attacking game based on pace and good ball-handling skills.
The new mentality saw them reach the World Cup semi-finals in England in 2015.
“It’s our identity and where we feel most comfortable and to be able to complement that with good defence is the best thing that can happen to us,” Orlando said.
Editing by Toby Davis