Super Rugby Preview: Highlanders v Jaguares

Getty Images

Thursday, May 9, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Highlanders v Jaguares, Forsyth Barr Stadium, 5.15pm Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Played: 1
Won: Highlanders 1, Jaguares 1
Last time: Jaguares 8-34 Highlanders, Buenos Aires, July 9, 2016
Referee: Ben O'Keefe


After two wins to start the season, 30-27a over the Chiefs and the Reds 36-31, the Highlanders have managed only two other wins, over the Blues 24-12 and the Sunwolves 52-0a. They had two points from their abandoned game with the Crusaders and last week's 31-31 draw against the Chiefs. They lost to the Rebels 19-24a, the Hurricanes 22-25a, the Blues 26-33a, the Hurricanes 28-31a and the Crusaders 17-43a. The Jaguares have had six wins and five losses. The wins were over the Bulls 27-12, the Blues 23-19, the Bulls 22-20a, the Sharks 51-17a, the Brumbies 20-15 and the Stormers 30-25. Their losses were to the Lions 16-25, the Lions 39-47a, the Stormers 8-35a and the Chiefs 27-30.


It's a first experience under the roof at Forsyth Barr Stadium for the Jaguares and only the second game between the sides. Joining some distinguished Highlanders names to have played 100 times for the side this week is loose forward Elliot Dixon. Those ahead of him are: Ben Smith, Anton Oliver, Jimmy Cowan, Chris King and Aaron Smith. Dixon said he felt privileged to reach a century of Super Rugby games for one side, the Highlanders and it had been an enjoyable experience for the nine years. Coach Aaron Mauger said the fact Dixon was still demanding selection as a result of his form of the moment spoke volumes for his attitude towards rugby.

The Jaguares will have some of their most experienced firepower coming off the bench, although most of it will be in the forwards with only two back reserves in the side. Jaguares captain Jeronimo de la Fuente said the side enjoyed being in the rugby atmosphere of New Zealand. "The atmosphere is very special, rugby breathes here," he said. "We know what kind of team the Highlanders are, we know the playing style of New Zealand teams. They are very complete teams and it does not matter how they fare in the tournament. They always play good rugby, they are intense, hard on contact and have a lot of dynamics to their game. On our side the demands don't change, we look at different ways to make things complicated for them and to try and put them off their game."


The Highlanders have taken leads into the second half of their last four games but have carried on to win only two of them, one also being drawn.


The Jaguares, who had won their last two games in New Zealand, have conceded only seven clean breaks per game this year, the least in the competition.


Highlanders: 1.Ayden Johnstone, 2.Liam Coltman, 3.Siate Tokolahi, 4.Josh Dickson, 5.Tom Franklin, 6.Luke Whiteock, 7.James Lentjess, 8.Elliot Dixon, 9.Aaron Smith, 10.Josh Ioane, 11.Tevita Li, 12.Patelesio Tomkinson, 13.Rob Thompson, 14.Jordan Hyland, 15.Matt Faddes.

Substitutes: 16.Ash Dixon, 17.Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18.Tyrel Lomax, 19.Jack Whetton, 20.Liam Squire, 21.Kayne Hammington, 22.Daniel Hollinshead, 23.Thomas Umaga-Jensen.

Jaguares: 1.Mayco Vivas, 2.Julian Montoya, 3.Enrique Pieretto, 4.Marcos Kremer, 5.Lucas Paulos, 6.Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 7.Tomas Lezana, 8.Javier Ortega Desio, 9.Felipe Ezcurra, 10.Joaquin diaz Bonilla, 11.Ramiro Moyano, 12.Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 13.Matias Moroni, 14.Sebastian Cancelliere, 15.Emiliano Boffelli.

Substitutes: 16.Agustin Creevy, 17.Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18.Santiago Medrano, 19.Tomas Lavanini, 20.Pablo Matera, 21.Tomas Cubelli, 23.Matias Orlando.