The Kings will be hoping to avenge their 73-27 thumping in Buenos Aires in Round 10 when they host the Jaguares in the return leg in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
Having only managed a single victory – a 33-28 triumph over the Sunwolves in Round Six – the Kings find themselves languishing at the bottom of the Africa Two Conference table.
A win for either side won’t cause any uproar in the standings, however the Jaguares will want to maintain their dominance over their hosts while the Kings will want to make full use of homeground advantage.
Despite having only won one more match than their opponents, The Buenos Aires side are nine points ahead, in third position, of the Kings on the Africa Two Conference table.
The home side have not shown any improvement in the defensive department as yet, having conceded an ernomous 71 tries in eleven games and must stop the Jaguares from gaining momentum.
Speaking of momentum, the visitors know how to get over the advantage line. They have beaten 25 defenders but only have 36 tries to show for it, from their eleven games, which translates to an average of three tries per match – a number which they can increase should the Kings’ poor defensive effort continue.
Good clean lineout ball has been the source of the majority of the home side’s possession, players like CJ Velleman and lineout specialist, lock JC Astle have ensured that the Kings’ promising backline receive quality ball.
The big talking point around the Kings so far, has been their inability to stop sides from getting over their try-line. Having conceded an average of six tries per match, their midfielders will be kept busy by the Jaguares attack.
It will be a tough ask for the Kings to pull off a win, despite their lineout and scrum success so far this season as they lack the necessary discipline to be patient on attack.
The breakdown has also been a good platform for the Kings to secure quality ball, however their lack of patience either on attack or defence has seen them huddle under their posts several times this season.
This tussle between these basement dwellers can be expected to be fairly evenly matched, however the physicality of the Argentines should outmuscle this spirited Kings side.
The last time the teams met: Jaguares scored eleven tries as they sealed their debut home victory in Super Rugby, running out 73-27 winners over the Kings in Buenos Aires. Leonardo Senatore starred with three tries in the game while Juan Martín Hernández, Santiago Cordero, Nicolás Sánchez, Manuel Montero, Matías Alemanno, Emiliano Boffelli and Martín Landajo were also scorers for the hosts. In reply the Kings went over on four occasions with Chris Cloete, Stefan Watermeyer, Thembelani Bholi and Steven Sykes on the board.
Players to watch: Kings lock JC Astle’s lineout prowess will once again be relied upon. The towering second-row has secured 54 lineouts which include four steals – this number sees him ranked amongst the top ten lineout jumpers for the season.
Jaguares speedster Emiliano Boffelli has been dangerous on attack, despite not seeing much of the ball. The left winger has beaten a total of 31 defenders, so far this season, which is testament of his ability to evade tackles.
Team news: New Kings recruit Wandile Mjekevu has been named on the left wing for this clash. Mjekevu, who joined the Kings on loan from the Sharks earlier in the week, replaces the injured Luzuko Vulindlu and is one of four changes to the starting line-up that suffered a 53-0 defeat against the Sharks in Durban last weekend. Kings head coach Deon Davids has also recalled Stefan Watermeyer, who missed the last two matches through injury. He takes over from JP du Plessis at outside centre in the only other back-line alteration. The other changes see Edgar Marutlulle replacing Martin Ferreira at hooker while JC Astle comes into the run-on side at lock where he is preferred to Schalk Oelofse.
Meanwhile, Jaguares head coach Raul Pérez has rung the changes to his starting line-up.. In the back-line, Segundo Tuculet comes into the run-on side at inside centre where he replaces Matías Orlando, who moves to the right wing. Orlando takes over from Emiliano Boffelli, who shifts to the left wing where he is preferred to Lucas González Amorosino. In the forwards, veteran flanker Juan Manuel Leguizamón starts on the openside flank where he replaces Tomás Lezana, who moves to the blindside flank. Lezana comes in for Pablo Matera while Guido Petti replaces Matías Alemanno at lock and regular captain Agustín Creevy returns at hooker in the final change to the starting line-up that lost to the Lions last weekend. Creevy returns from suspension and comes in for Julián Montoy who starts on the bench where he replaces Facundo Bosch while Alemanno will provide cover for the second row.
Form: The Kings find themselves at the bottom of the Africa Two Conference table after managing a solo win over fellow new boys, the Sunwolves, in Round Six. Deon Davids’ men have not shown any promise apart from a few individual stand-out players – like Edgar Maratlulle, CJ Velleman and second-row JC Astle – so far this season. While the Jaguares only managed one more victory than their hosts, they are nine points ahead, in third position, of their opponents. Their two victories were against the Cheetahs in the opening round and against the Kings in Buenos Aires last month. The victory over the Cheetahs boosted the confidence of the men from Argentina but no more than that as they lost seven consecutive matches before their 73-27 win over the Kings.
Prediction: The Kings have not shown any promise of getting their tackle count down and the Jaguares will make be looking to capitalise on this. Jagaures to win by ten or more points.
2016: Jaguares won 73-27 in Buenos Aires
Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Dewald Human, 23 JP du Plessis
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Segundo Tuculet, 12 Juan Martín Hernández, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo (c), 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Santiago García Botta
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Ramiro Moyano
Date: Friday, May 27
Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Kick-off: 19:00 local (17:00 GMT)
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant Referees: Quinton Immelman, Ben Crouse
TMO: Marius Jonker
Photo credit: UAR/Gaspafotos/Juan e Ignacio Gasparini