Jaguares

Jaguares dominate Pumas team to face All Blacks

Thirteen members of the starting XV for the Test in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning started for the Jaguares in the final of the Super Rugby two weeks earlier. The reserves bench is comprised entirely of Jaguares.

Ledesma is banking on the same chemistry at international level after the Jaguares exceeded all expectations by making a maiden final appearance, losing to the Crusaders in Christchurch.

The only changes to a team captained by world-class flanker Pablo Matera are the introduction of two experienced European-based stars.

Crusaders have "brought the community together"

The match at Rugby League Park comes just 16 weeks after Christchurch became the site of New Zealand's worst massacre when 51 people were killed in a mass shooting at two mosques on March 15.

For a population still rebuilding after a 2011 earthquake devastated the city and killed about 190 people, the shootings were a harsh body blow and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson recognised the turmoil the community has faced in recent months.

Creevy: We respect Crusaders, but we start on an equal footing

While the Crusaders were founding members of Super 12 and will be hunting their 10th title in their 14th final on Saturday, the Argentine side blew in only four years ago in the otherwise ill-fated expansion to 18 teams.

They have, however, seized their opportunity with both hands, stacking the team with internationals and creating the one major success story of the game's desire to raise standards in non-traditional rugby markets.

Argentina rugby armed and dangerous, declares All Blacks coach Steve Hansen

The All Blacks coach delivered an unequivocal judgment on the state of Argentine rugby ahead of an important little period where the might of the South American nation was about to assess itself against the very best on offer from New Zealand.

On Saturday night in Christchurch, the Jaguares of Argentina – more or less the World Cup-bound Pumas in the guise of a franchise – will tackle back-to-back champs the Crusaders in their first ever Super Rugby final.

Crusaders and All Blacks lose Crotty and Barrett

And the All Blacks duo are also in line to miss the Rugby Championship that follows.

Crotty fractured his thumb in the semi-final win over the Hurricanes and had surgery on Sunday to stabilize it.

He will be sidelined for up to eight weeks.

Barrett will miss the next five to six weeks after fracturing the second metacarpal at the base of his index finger.

The Crusaders have ready-made replacements in the midfield and at lock.

Last-gasp try seals Chiefs win

Tahuriorangi scored in the 79th minute to give the Chiefs their second win of the season, after thumping the Bulls 56-20 in Pretoria last weekend.

A stop-start opening 40 minutes gave the Chiefs a useful 17-6 halftime lead, the visitors scoring twice through Damian McKenzie and Tumua Manu, after a smart dink - and lucky bounce - from Marty McKenzie to go up by 11.

The Jaguares clawed back the deficit with tries from Joaquin Tuculet and Pablo Matera to level the scores at 20-20 at the end of the third quarter.

Jaguares appoint Quesada

Quesada takes over from Mario Ledesma, who left to replace Daniel Hourcade as Argentina boss last week.

Capped 38 times by the Pumas, Quesada has left his role at Biarritz to return to his homeland with the Jaguares, who reached the Super Rugby play-offs under Ledesma this year.

"It was time to go back to my country and bring Argentine rugby all my experience," said Quesada, who guided Stade Francais to the Top 14 title in 2015 and the European Challenge Cup two years later.

Jaguares stun Chiefs to continue streak

In a display of power and efficiency, the South Americans strangled the life out of the disappointing Chiefs to record a fourth successive win for the first time since their introduction to the competition in 2016.

All four have come on the road in Australia and New Zealand, suggesting they are emerging as a force to be reckoned with.

After losing four of their first five games this season, the Jaguares have unearthed a formula based on stifling defence and forward muscle which frustrated the hosts.

Crusaders outclass Jaguares

The visitors scored six tries to two, including doubles to wingers George Bridge and Manasa Mataele, while five-eighth Mitch Hunt scored 13 points.

The bonus-point win lifts the Crusaders to one point behind the Lions at the top of the overall standings through eight rounds.

They narrowly lead the New Zealand conference from the Hurricanes and the Chiefs.

A third-straight win was the Crusaders' eighth in a row at an offshore venue.

The only team to have won a final overseas, the Crusaders have built their eight titles on an ability to travel.

Ready to return for Reds

Ready has been overlooked for Queensland's first three games this season, Brandon Paenga-Amosa taking the opportunity as starting hooker with both hands and Alex Mafi doing a fine job as a late game finisher.

But Thorn, who has made a handful of changes to the team that beat the Bulls, has seen enough from the highly touted 24-year-old to hand him a chance this weekend.

There's just one change to the starting XV but it's a significant one, Angus Scott-Young slotting into the backrow for his Super Rugby start, ahead of Liam Wright.