The Right Way or the Jaguare-way- Reds v Jaguares Preview - Green and Gold Rugby
Queensland Reds

The Right Way or the Jaguare-way- Reds v Jaguares Preview

The Right Way or the Jaguare-way- Reds v Jaguares Preview

With the season all but over from a finals perspective, the Reds face a stern test at home to Jaguares team that is riding high on the top of the South African conference. They have rung the changes this week after a few weeks of what if rugby, including some significant returns and some key positional changes. With some fringe World Cup spots still up for grabs, there is ample motivation to perform.

Whether this will be enough to draw a crowd that will distracted by the evil corporate monstrosity that is State of Origin is anyone’s guess but the poor attendances at nearly all Super Rugby games has to have someone worried. Or does it? Who knows what goes through the heads of the boffins at SANZAAR? Why am I so distracted? Read on for the preview of Saturday’s game.


The up down, up down season of the Reds has continued with two relatively tight losses the last two weeks. The Waratahs game largely came down to a misfiring boot and some ill discipline, whereas last week exposed the key fact that without Samu Kerevi, the Reds backline is severely lacking in spark and finishing.

Samu Kerevi is the only player in Super Rugby this season with at least 5 tries and 5 try assists such is his line busting skills. When he does get the ball, he is attracting attention like my footpath does during kerb side clean up, and this then frees up others to continue with the play in space.

The Jaguares come into the game with an 8-5 record and find themselves clear at the top of the South African conference. They have won two on the trot, following a win over the Hurricanes in NZ with a win last week over the disjointed Waratahs outfit.

There has been some complaining in the past week (mostly from ex-Waratahs) that given they comprise so many test players that the Jaguares should be booted from the comp. I happen to disagree, it has been good for a country that suffered from the whims of European clubs or a low standard domestic comp that continually hampered their international results. My main gripe is that if we have given the Argentinians the leg-up in this way (economics aside) why we did not ever do the same for the Pacific Islands nations. Anyhow I digress, perhaps that should be the subject of it’s own think-piece.

Brandon Paenga-Amosa returns to the starting team

Brandon Paenga-Amosa returns to the starting team


There are no less than six changes to the starting team, a mix of injury, returns from injury and associated reshuffles. The changes start in the front row, with the return of JP Smith from concussion and Brandon Paenga-Amosa from bench duties. Combined with Taniela Tupou, this is the return of the 2018 front row.

Despite Daryl Gibson ignoring the rest policy for his fleet of Wallabies, Izack Rodda falls foul of the dreaded policy this week, shifting Lukhan Salakaia-Loto back to lock and Angus Scott-Young to blindside. Scott Higginbotham marks his 100th game in a Qld jersey with a start at number eight. Big Lukhan has looked more like a 6 this year and has excelled there so hopefully the second half sub policy will get him back there late on.

At flyhalf is where is gets interesting. Bryce Hegarty and Matt McGahan have straight swapped, in what is clearly an audition of sorts for McGahan. Hegarty has been good all season without being exceptional so coach Brad Thorn is clearly trying to light a fire that takes some pressure off the captain. In the centres Kerevi returns as does Chris Feauai-Sautia from injury. Filipo Daugunu returns on the wing after a long stint out injured.

Bench wise, there is the return of Hamish Stewart from injusry, and Harry Hockings from his boot-to-the-head enforced layoff. There is also a potential debut for Bond Uni prop Gav Luka, and Scott Malolua remains in line for his first cap after traveling to Hamilton last week only to wear a big warm coat for 80 minutes.


At the tail end of four games away from home, the Jaguares have rung the changes from last week, with no less than 8 changes from last week. Names familiar to Australians like Agustin Creevy return to the starting side, while former Brumby Tomas Cubelli drops to the bench. The entire front row changes out, as do the locks, with Guido Petti switching to blindside. The halves also completely swap, as do the centres. I get that the tail end of a tour has led to fatigue but you have to wonder what such wholesale changes will do any continuity they may have. Have they underestimated the Reds??? Interestingly, it also appears the Jaguares have opted to go with a 6-2 bench split, leaving only Cubelli and the captain last week, De La Puente to cover the backline.


Former Brumby Cubelli part of a star studded Jaguares team

Former Brumby Cubelli part of a star studded Jaguares team


The lineouts- The Jaguares have tall timber galore and while not ranking in the top 10 on their own ball, have players in the list on the balls stolen statistic. Interestingly, Brad Thorn has benched Alex Mafi despite being fourth for accuracy in the competition. Whether Brandon Paenga-Amosa can continue this and also work with the pack to disrupt the Jaguares set piece will be an interesting battle.

Discipline- If you all thought the Reds had a discipline issue, wait till you see the Jaguares. They have conceded 30 penalty goals this season, to the Reds 18 and also given up more yellow cards. Should this continue, then it will come down to Bryce Hegarty having the radar aligned, and kicking the precious three points when the opportunity arises. Interestingly, Taniela Tupou is the most penalised player in the competition this year, giving away 19.

The Bench- Given the Jaguares are littered with internationals the depth of both sides will be brought into question. The Reds have two players yet to play a minute of Super Rugby and two that haven’t played in several weeks as a result of injury or suspension. How these players fare when they get on will be key- the Jaguares lead the competition for tries in the last quarter of the game with 16 so they clearly have run and the depth to pounce on the back end.


The question here boils down to one key point- will the Reds be unburdened by the fact that finals are out of reach, or will they just go through the motions? Despite their record this season, there has been more fight than there has surrender so I am inclined to think they will push on.

Whether or not this will be enough to beat a Jaguares team that is on a roll, after a win in NZ and then Sydney is the big question. A look at the losses that the Jaguares team have had (two to the Lions, one each to Stormers, Highlanders, and Chiefs) seems to possibly indicate a weakness against expansive, attacking play. If the Reds can throw some caution to the wind, they may cause the boilover, but I think they don’t quite have it in them.

Jaguares by 6.



Jaguares: (courtesy of ESPN) 

15 Juan Cruz Mallia
14 Santiago Carreras
13 Matias Moroni
12 Matis Orlando
11 Ramiro Moyano
10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla
9 Felipe Ezcurra
8 Javier Ortega Desio
7 Tomas Lezana
6 Guido Petti
5 Tomas Lavanini
4 Lucas Paulos
3 Lucio Sordoni
2 Agustin Creevy
1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro


16 Julian Montoya
17 Mayco Vivas
18 Enrique Pieretto
19 Marcos Kremer
20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon
21 Pablo Matera
22 Tomas Cubelli
23 Jeronimo De La Fuente


15 Bryce Hegarty
14 Jock Campbell
13 Chris Feauai-Sautia
12 Samu Kerevi (c)
11 Filipo Daugunu
10 Matt McGahan
9 Tate McDermott
8 Scott Higginbotham
7 Liam Wright
6 Angus Scott-Young
5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
4 IAngus Blyth
3 Taniela Tupou
2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa
1 JP Smith


16 Alex Mafi
17 Ruan Smith
18 Gav Luka (potential debut)
19 Harry Hockings
20 Adam Korczyk
21 Scott Malolua (potential debut)
22 Duncan Paia’aua
23 Hamish Stewart

Match Details Date: Saturday 2 June
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 19:45 AEST
Referee: Jaco “Pay the” Peyper (RSA)  AR1: Egon “Penalty Lions” Seconds (RSA)  AR2: Paul Williams (NZ)
Television Match Official: James “Leckie” Leckie
  • Custard Taht

    This is an interesting match up. I think the Reds can match them up front, and Kerevi will be an absolute handful for the Pumas and the difference.

    Reds at home, Pumas last game of 4 week away stretch, Reds to topple the pumas by 7.

    • I think the Jags/Pumas are starting to come into their class and have things to fight for – selection for Japan is starting to become a real issue for them in a way it’s not for too many Reds. And international players should cope better with 4 weeks on the road too.

      While you could be right – the Reds can produce some great results, I think this is a bit too much for them. Shame, I was hoping this year we’d see Thorn’s team do appreciably better than last year, but it doesn’t seem to have come together for him. Not that that seems to have made a difference to the board in Queensland.

      • Custard Taht

        It is certainly a match that is a roll of the dice in regards to who will win.

        I was critical of Thorne earlier in the season. However the Reds have gotten better as the season as dragged on, even if the wins aren’t always there.

        Next year is the make or break year for Thorne. Year 3 there are no excuses left, the reds need to have winning percentage above 50 and be in contention for the finals.

        • AllyOz

          I agree but a substantial amount of their success has been built on the performances of Kerevi. I am not sure what they will do if he is not there. Perhaps Jordan P will step up or maybe they will pick up someone but he has been a big focus of their attack and has some of the best stats of any backline player in the comp.

        • Custard Taht

          Losing Kerevi is big, no doubt. No player is irreplaceable, and in some ways it could be a blessing in disguise, as it could force the Reds to expand their game plan and skills.

          I think that Thorne has a good coaching team, and with him and McKay, see no reason why the Reds can’t successfully transition away from Kerevi dependence.

        • I defended Thorn last year. I haven’t really seen a lot of their matches this year but based on what I have seen and what I’ve read, pretty consistently, I’m worried they’re losing matches they should win because of poor discipline.

          I can imagine a side coached by Thorn playing aggressively and being willing to take more penalties than the norm. For a lot of sides you hear about trying to keep the penalty count under 10 in order to win, but if the coach backs a more aggressive style, competing more at rucks and mauls, faster line speed (well maybe not that, how often do you see offside in the defensive line given?) etc. and even the odd penalty for “slipping up” and a high hit that way (without advocating hitting players high and getting carded and deliberate dangerous play) would be OK, and that would go with a higher penalty count.

          But it seems like a lot of the penalties the Reds give up fall more into the dumb camp. And that’s shouldn’t really be acceptable. OK, there are a lot of young players, they’ll make more mistakes than 10 year veterans. But that should be maybe three per game across the team and it seems (from what I’ve seen and read) more like 5-7 and it’s in a lot of games. Maybe I’m being overly harsh. But it feels like there is an improvement in overall play that they’re then sabotaging – Thorn and his coaches deserve the credit for the former and the blame for the latter. Working on eradicating dumb penalties ought to be something you can see improvement on during a season but if anything it seems to be getting worse… and that’s why I think perhaps he won’t make it. But we shall see.

    • From NooZealand

      I am with you. I dream of a last minute epic play by the Reds. As you can see you are not alone,

  • AllyOz

    Enjoyed the write up thanks Ben. While the Reds will miss Rodda it seems to be an area where they have some depth. LSL has been playing well all year and Scott Young is a capable replacement. I haven’t seen much of McGahan but note they also have Stewart on the bench so could go bring Hegarty back into 10 and Stewart on at 15 if they need to. Stewart isn’t as dynamic as some but I am not keen to write him off this early in his career. I am tipping the Reds to bounce back at home for a 3 point win but agree much will depend on Hegarty’s radar.

    I feel a bit sorry for AR2 Paul Williams with no funny nickname….he must feel a bit like the Sri Lankan cricketer Graham Labrooy in the 12th man series.

    • Ben Marczyk

      I’m just pleased there’s one person who reads down that far!

    • skip

      Gee you’re fucked in the head sometimes Max.

      • AllyOz

        I am glad someone got it.

  • Damo

    Is Caleb Timu injured or is there some other issue? I would have thought that with Rodda out and Lukan moving to lock there would be a place for him at least in the 23.

  • Jason

    Reds by 6 or Jags by 15. Reds either step up or slink away.

Queensland Reds

Passionate about rugby from the grass roots up. Usually found at Brisbane club rugby games, or being involved in the junior and schools system. Love a chat, happy to admit when I'm wrong. I will watch any game of rugby regardless of who is playing, from juniors through to tests

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