The Jaguares host the Sharks in Buenos Aires on Saturday, hoping to reverse their close loss in Durban earlier in the season.
The Jaguares, who are coming off a bye and a massive victory against the Kings two weeks ago, will be feeling pretty comfortable at home.
The Sharks who have had an erratic season, finely found some form last week as they played to their potential and beat last year’s runners-up, the Hurricanes.
The Sharks will be looking to team talisman and captain, Patrick Lambie as he returns to the starting line-up from a long-term injury. Having come off the bench last week – scoring five points through a penalty and a conversion – and nearly landing a try, it should not take the former Michaelhouse student long to get into the swing of things.
The Sharks management will be relieved to see Lambie taking over the captaincy from Tendai Mtawarira, who had a turbulent start in the role after criticising Ben O'Keeffe during a game against the Highlanders.
Discipline has been a perpetual problem for the Jaguares as they have been given the second most yellow cards in the competition. It is a factor of their game that will need serious improvement before this weekend, as the last time these two teams played, their discipline led to their loss.
The last time these teams met: The Sharks were able to grind out a win against a spirited Jaguares outfit in Durban. The game ended 19-15 after the Jaguares led at half time 15-13 even after two Jaguares were shown yellow cards within minutes of each other. Santiago Cordero and Emiliano Boffelli scored for the visitors while the Sharks scored one try through Marcel Coetzee, the majority of their points came through the boot of Joe Pietersen.
Players to watch: The Sharks boast an incredibly strong forward pack, which is boosted by the Du Preez twins. After the departure of Willem Alberts, the physical presence of The Bone Collector was sorely missed at Kings Park but Dan Du Preez is a handy replacement. Another Shark that deserves mention is Andre Esterhuizen who has found some form in the later stages of the competition. Esterhuizen made 13 tackles last weekend against the Hurricanes and remains a pillar of a strong Sharks defence. The performence of hosts' forward pack is likely to make or break this game and Agustín Creevy has led by example this year. A big performance from the home skipper will be needed. Joaquín Tuculet joins the team this weekend and the Argentine full-back will provide an exciting edge to the Jaguares’ game. The presence of the full-back will keep the Sharks wary of any wayward kicks as Tuculet on the counter attack could be dangerous.
Team news: The return of Lambie sees in-form fly-half Garth April relegated to the bench with Lambie taking over the captaincy from Tendai Mtawarira. There has been a slight shuffle in the forward pack with Jean Deysel, Giant Mtyanda and Coenie Oosthuizen all gaining starting berths.
The Jaguares have tweaked their forward pack with Pablo Matera replacing Tomás Lezana in the loose forwards. In the backline, Pumas fullback Joaquín Tuculet will start at fifteen and Matías Orlando will start at outside centre.
Form: The Jaguares are coming off a hefty win against the Kings at home, before a bye which means they will be brimming with confidence and well rested. While the Sharks had the game of the season last weekend against the Hurricanes in Durban, so both teams should come out all guns blazing.
Prediction: Despite playing at home, the Jaguares should succumb to an aggressive Sharks pack, which is well blended with experience and exuberance. Sharks to win by 6.
2016: Sharks beat the Jaguares 19-15 in Durban
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Santiago García Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.
Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Pat Lambie (c), 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chilliboy Ralepelle/Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Garth April, 23 S'bura Sithole/Joe Pietersen.
Date: Saturday, May 14
Venue: Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Kick-off: 17:40 local (21:40 GMT)
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Juan Sylvestre, Damian Schneider
TMO: Santiago Borsani