BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s Jaguares Super Rugby franchise have named six newcomers amid their 44-strong squad for the 2017 season, their second in the southern hemisphere club competition.
The Jaguares also welcome back three players who were injured last year, missing several matches for the Pumas national team -- forwards Tomas Lavanini and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, and fullback Emiliano Boffelli.
The Argentine team, drawn in the Africa 2 conference with Southern Kings, Sharks and 2016 runners-up the Lions, will be looking for a better second season after four wins and 11 defeats last year.
“Our immediate challenge is to be able to put on the pitch all the experience we had and accumulated in 2016,” coach Raul Perez said at the squad presentation.
“To take part again in the most important and demanding tournament in the world, with a season behind us, is already very different.”
He added that improving the Jaguares’ discipline was vital, starting with their first match against the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Feb. 25.
“I remember when we played the Kings in Port Elizabeth (last year), the indiscipline we had cost us the match. I think that’s our challenge,” Perez said. Jaguares had crushed the Kings 73-27 in Buenos Aires four weeks earlier.
Among the newcomers are backs Bautista Ezcurra and Santiago Alvarez, who played for the Pumas Sevens team at the Rio Olympic Games, and back row forward Benjamin Macome, who has returned home after playing for Bayonne in France.
Veteran back Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino has been dropped, having also been overlooked for the Pumas’ November test tour of Japan and Europe.
Writing by Rex Gowar; Editing by Ian Chadband