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Jaguares unleashed on Super Rugby

The Argentinian Rugby Union (UAR) has unveiled the Jaguares as its entry into the Super Rugby club competition, with the new franchise set to be based at the home of Primera Division football club Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires.

The addition of Argentinian and Japanese franchises to the Super Rugby pan-regional competition was officially confirmed in November 2014, with Tokyo set to share hosting rights to the latter team with Singapore. The tournament currently features five teams each from South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, but will expand to 18 teams from 2016 through the addition of the new clubs from Argentina and Japan, along with the reintroduction of South Africa’s Southern Kings team.

While the Japanese team will be known as the Sunwolves, the UAR yesterday (Wednesday) unveiled the Jaguares as the identity of its franchise, which is set to pose a strong challenge in Super Rugby. All of the 30-man squad, which was also revealed on Wednesday, have Test-level experience, with the majority featuring as part of the Argentina team that reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in October.

The Jaguares will play their home matches at the 49,500-capacity Estadio Jose Amalfitani, where the national team has played many Test matches. Their first home match will be against South Africa’s Chiefs on March 18.

Carlos Araujo, president of the UAR, said: “The day has finally come and we are very happy. The franchise – the Jaguares – and the tournament, of which many of us have dreamt so much and for so long, has today, formally and officially, come true.

“It has also been the result of a strategic plan that has taken a long time to develop and kick off. Today, in the initiation of the Jaguares and on their presentation day, I can only find words of appreciation to refer to the Argentine rugby, our amateur rugby – the foundation of everything – where we come from and for which we have worked so much.”

In May, Greg Peters resigned as chief executive of Sanzar, the umbrella body for the Argentinian, Australian, New Zealand and South African rugby unions, to take up a new position as general manager of the UAR. One of his main remits is to drive through the successful introduction of the Jaguares.