Given that they both come off unbeaten runs in their last matches in the Super Rugby competition it comes as no surprise that neither the home team Jaguares nor the Brumbies are much better placed than the other in the head-to head statistics.
These two sides meet early on Saturday morning (01:05 SA time) in Buenos Aires in the first of this year’s Super Rugby semi-finals.
There is no such thing as an easy game in Buenos Aires. It could well be that the hostile home crowd and the Jaguares physicality will again combine to intimidate a strong opponent and bring the homeside victory.
The scrums, where the Jaguares have been poor this season in a department where Argentinians had been the world leaders for many years, and the travel that the Brumbies had to do for this semi-final are probably the outstanding advantages the two teams may enjoy.
To date, the Brumbies have won once in Buenos Aires (39-15 in 2017) and lost once by a narrow 20-15 margin this year on the Jaguares home turf; the Jaguares also won 25-20 in the 2018 clash in Canberra.
2019: Jaguares won 20-15, Buenos Aires
2018: Jaguares won 25-20, Canberra
2017: Brumbies won 39-15, Buenos Aires
When it comes to clean breaks, both the semi-finalists are low on the ranking of this year’s 15 teams and they fill the last two places for defenders beaten.
The two teams are within one percent of one another in lineouts won. In fact, the top three lineout-winners are in opposition.
The Jaguares’ Guido Petti Pagadizaval (81) has won the most line-outs in the competition followed in the rankings by the Brumbies Rory Arnold (78) and Sam Carter (69) who are second and third respectively.
It all comes down to the breakdowns and defence on the day. The Jaguares will have to do better than their poor record in turnovers and increase their superiority on opposition possession at the breakdown.
Never mind the comparative defence numbers over the whole of the season. If the Jaguares can equal last week’s effort against the Chiefs especially in the last quarter, the Brumbies could find their task even more difficult than envisaged.
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Sebastián Cancelliere, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 11 Matias Moroni, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Mayco Vivas. Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Francisco Gorrissen, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 21 Domingo Miotti, 22 Ramiro Moyano.
15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Christian Lealiifano (captain), 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio. Replacements: 16 Connal Mcinerney, 17 James Slipper, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Murray Douglas, 21 Jahrome Brown, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Tom Wright.
Kick-off: 01:05 Saturday
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)