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Brutal travel taking it’s toll on Jaguares

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Jaguares head coach Raúl Pérez is learning quickly about the demands of Super Rugby and the need to rest and rotate players as the team circles the globe in it’s first season.

The Jaguares have played 7 of their 15 scheduled matches and they have already toured South Africa, New Zealand, played two matches at home and are currenly in Japan.

The Jaguares will play the Sunwolves, in Tokyo on Saturday and then they fly back to Argentina where they will play another expansion team the Southern Kings.

The Puma filled team have not done as well as many expected in Super Rugby as they have only won one match. Many predicted the team to be contenders for the Africa 2 Conference but that pool looks increasingly like it will be won by the Lions.

By the time the Jaguares have their second bye in Week 11 the Jaguares will have flown for more than 35,000 miles. To put that into perspective the circumference of the globe is 24,901 miles.

“We’re not used to traveling so much, so we are a bit tired,” scrumhalf Martín Landajo admitted to the NYTimes.

Perez can call on a squad filled with Argentina internationals but he opted to leave 10 players behind for their tour of New Zealand which included matches against the the Blues, the Hurricanes and the Crusaders.

Some of the players left behind for the first of two matches in NZ included Argentina captain Agustín Creevy, Juan Martín Hernández and Lucas González Amorosino.

“It is difficult,” said Landajo who captained the side in Creevy’s absence.

“Some of maybe our best players stayed in Buenos Aires.”

#Jaguares coach Perez has to try and balance the load on Argentina’s players as they only have one Super Rugby team and after the Super Rugby season finishes the Pumas will contest the Rugby Championship. The same players will also take part in matches for Argentina in the June internationals.

South Africa, New Zealand and Australia are more accustomed to rotating players but they also have much greater depth.

“It was part of our strategy to have a balance,” Pérez said after the game against the Hurricanes.

“We are going to arrive in Buenos Aires after the next two games on a Tuesday, and we have to play against the Kings on Saturday.”

Perez is also trying to blood new players who are playing professional rugby for the first time in order to build depth for the country.

“We have 19- and 20-year-old boys who have never played in the national team. They have never played against professional players,” Landajo said.

“They are playing in their first professional tournament.

“It’s good for Argentina. We are growing them up. These losses hurt, of course, but I think they will make us better.”

The Jaguares won their opening matches and had some near misses early in the tournament but recent results the points difference is growing – (24-16 against the #Blues and 40-22 against the #Hurricanes, then 32-15 against the #Crusaders) but Landajo firmly believes the victories will come.

“It’s going to take experience and to be mature in some parts of the game,” he said.

“We have the players but we have to adjust a bit.”

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