Experienced Sharks scrum-half Michael Claassens has called for cool heads ahead of the clash with the Jaguares in a crucial Super Rugby encounter at Kings Park on Saturday.
Claassens has a good understanding of the Argentine style during his time playing club rugby in Europe, where many Argentinians ply their trade.
It is well known in rugby circles that the men from South America play a passionate and physical brand of rugby and are well adept at getting under their opponents’ skin.
According to Claassens, the Sharks will need to keep their cool in the face of what is expected to be an abrasive onslaught.
“Discipline has to be a major focus for us this week. It is everything in fact. Our discipline has actually been very good this season. Although last week we let ourselves down by giving away more penalties than usual,” Classens told Supersport.
“We cannot afford that this Saturday. We must not get involved in scraps off the ball. It is an important game for us and if we want the log points we need to keep our cool.”
Meanwhile, he has praised the Jaguares’ new-found discipline, which has contributed to their overall improvement this season.
“In their first season of Super Rugby the Jaguares probably overdid it but they appear to have sorted that out now,” said the 34-year-old.
“They can be temperamental and emotional, and always very competitive. It is why they are so physical. I played with and against many of them overseas and I know what makes them tick. But they have learned from last year (the red and yellow cards). They are also playing shrewder rugby and are not running the ball from everywhere like they did before.”
“They have not lost their aggression, they are just more controlled.”
Claassens has further emphasised that there is no room for complacency and that his side are not switching off, despite the fact they are playing weaker opposition.
“We want this one. The guys were very positive in the change room after the Lions game. Yes there was initial disappointment at having lost a game after playing so well. We knew it had just not gone our way. But the talk soon switched to fixing it and getting the crucial points that are up for grabs against the Jaguares.”