Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Bloemfontein‚ Port Elizabeth‚ Sydney and Melbourne.

The Jaguares are hoping to add Johannesburg to the list of cities where they have achieved rare away victories since they were introduced to Super Rugby in 2016.

The Argentinean team have largely underwhelmed‚ especially away from home‚ but their scraps with the Lions have brought out their best.

Two (home) wins and the same number of (away) defeats speak of a rivalry in which the home team hopes to hold sway.

They clash at Ellis Park on Saturday and the Lions are expecting the tourists to be every bit as combative as in their four previous clashes.

"It is going to be a tough one‚" said Lions captain Warren Whiteley‚ who said the challenge the visitors were likely to pose would be much different to the one the Sharks brought to Ellis Park last weekend.

"They’re good. They came back nicely against the Stormers‚" said Lions coach Swys de Bruin about the Jaguares.

"We watched them against the Bulls [in a friendly]. They are a good unit with a lot of internationals‚ like us. "You’ve got to keep concentrating against them. You can’t take your foot off the pedal.

"Every game in Super Rugby now is one that brings pressure. It’s all about handling the pressure best‚" said De Bruin.

A problem for the tourists is when the pressure gets cranked up‚ they get a little hot under the collar. Their soft underbelly is their poor discipline.

Against the Stormers last weekend they conceded 15 penalties‚ including a yellow card for fullback Joaquin Tuculet. This potential to self-sabotage is an area of their game the Lions are likely to exploit.

"Discipline is vital‚" said De Bruin. "A penalty has a ripple effect. You concede a penalty and it means they get distance and they have the ball.

"That [discipline] is one of the values we’ve set this year.

"We push the discipline aspect much harder. I’m proud of the guys.

"They were immaculate against the Sharks."

De Bruin is quickly coming to grips with life as head coach after the departure of Johan Ackermann last season.

He said it was perhaps time to make peace with the fact that the Lions had a new coaching staff. "It is time to focus on the future. Philip Lemmer [forwards coach] is a young coach with a great future.

"Ackers [Johan Ackermann] laid a great foundation. We are still mates," he said. "We wish each other well.

"We’ve got to give Philip a full chance so he can grow and become great like Ackers," said the coach.

All Blacks and Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett stands to make Super Rugby history if he plays against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

The Hurricanes may not choose the 26-year-old for their first match of the season as he has not played in any of the pre-season warm-up matches and he arrived late in SA, but if Barrett does play, he stands a chance of becoming just the fourth player to score 1,000 Super Rugby points.

Barrett is currently on 998 points, meaning he will reach the milestone if he lands a penalty or conversion — or scores a try — on Saturday.

The only other players to have reached 1,000 Super Rugby points are Dan Carter (1,708), Morné Steyn (1,431) and Stirling Mortlock (1,036).


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