Matera backs Jaguares to bounce back

Date published: March 5 2017

Jaguares flanker Pablo Matera is confident his team will bounce back from their defeat to the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

The 23-year-old and Matias Moroni were sent to the sin bin shortly after each other during the final quarter of their 32-25 defeat but despite playing with 13 men, the Jaguares held their own against their more fancied opponents and came close to securing a shock win when Santiago Cordero scored a try during that period.

Matera was understandably disappointed after the match, but believes the Argentina-based side will emerge stronger after their narrow defeat against the men from the Cape.

“It was one of the toughest matches that we have in our fixtures. We had a chance to win it and we are little upset to lose but we are happy that we gave a good performance and made it a great match,” he said after the match.

“It’s not easy to come here and win against such an important team with a rich history in this tournament. This is our second year and we are still learning so I think we need to keep going and improve so that we can be the best team we can be.”

After winning their opener against the Kings in Port Elizabeth and leaving Cape Town with a losing bonus-point, Matera feels his team’s recent trip to South Africa will serve them well during the rest of the tournament.

The Jaguares head back to Buenos Aires where they have successive home matches against the Lions, Cheetahs and Reds, but they return to South Africa next month to take on the Sharks, Bulls and Lions in Durban, Pretoria and Johannesburg respectively.

“We are happy with our performances in our first two matches as it will boost our confidence ahead of our upcoming matches which are important ones in Argentina,” he added.

“To play our first two games away and gain five points from it is important and should help us during the rest of the competition.”

Matera is optimistic about his side’s chances for the rest of the tournament as they showed they can compete against a side like the Stormers, whom he rates highly.

“The Stormers are if not the best, the second best team in South Africa,” he remarked.

“It was a big challenge for us to come here and play them. They have great players and they play a really good game so I think we’re going to get on well in this tournament.”

His sin binning came after he collapsed a maul close to his try-line. He said he was caught in a difficult situation as they were penalised several times before his yellow card.

“I was defending my line and we conceded several penalties prior to that,” explained the Argentina international.

“It (the yellow card) could have gone to any of the players.”

Matera admitted that the Jaguares’ discipline is an area which needs serious attention.

“Obviously it’s something to work on,” he said.

“We are working on improving on it.”

Jaguares head coach Raúl Pérez echoed Matera’s sentiments and said his side’s poor discipline is something that is a major concern. This, after Moroni and Felipe Ezcurra were also sent to the sin bin in the win against the Kings.

“It is something we’ve been working on since the first day of the season and it’s a continous process,” said Perez.

“It’s a habit we must work on both inside and outside the field. Last year we suffered in this department and we will continue to work on it so that we can improve our discipline.”

Perez said it was pleasing that his side scored a try while they were at a two-man disadvantage against the Stormers.

“That shows the conviction of our team, that we can get a try with 13 men,” he added.

“But playing with 13 players led to the final result and we must work on avoiding such a situation.”

By David Skippers