Bok coach Erasmus to keep an eye on Crusaders vs Jaguares Super Rugby final

The Springboks coach and SA Rugby head of rugby Rassie Erasmus smiles during the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on October 6, 2018.
The Springboks coach and SA Rugby head of rugby Rassie Erasmus smiles during the Rugby Championship match between South Africa and New Zealand at Loftus Stadium in Pretoria on October 6, 2018.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

There may not be any South African teams in the Super Rugby final but Springbok coach Johan “Rassie” Erasmus will still keep an eye on the showpiece game between Crusaders and the Jaguares on Saturday.

His reasoning his simple: A strong Jaguares team plus the inclusion of their overseas contingent can only lead to a formidable Argentine national team.

“We experienced it last year when we lost to them in Argentina‚ so well done to them.

"Look at the way they've built squad depth there and the rest of what they've done.

"They (Jaguares) are a national side and with the way Nicolas Sanchez is playing for Stade Francais‚ along with the other guys they may draft in‚ they're going to be very formidable‚” Erasmus said.

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The Jaguares not only topped the South African conference‚ but beat the Chiefs and the Brumbies at home in the play-off to book their first ever Super Rugby final appearance.

They'll be up against a Crusaders side that hasn't lost a home play-off in 22 attempts since May 1998.

Australia may be first up on SA's Rugby Championship menu at Ellis Park on July 20‚ but they are going to face the Pumas twice in Salta and Pretoria

While the last game isn't part of the Rugby Championship‚ it'll serve as an important game from a preparation perspective.

SA will face Japan in a warm-up game before their World Cup opener against the All Blacks in Yokohama on September 21.

Argentina asked serious questions of the Springboks last year in Durban and Mendoza.

In the latter game‚ the Boks failed the South American examination; a point Erasmus doesn't forget easily.

“They're a really physically tough team‚ they don't stand back physically‚ they've touched up their discipline and they've got this finesse in their attacking game‚" Erasmus said.

"It's really sharp and they're hard‚ in your face with soft hands.

"You never know if they're going to run over you or they'll get the ball away with soft hands.

"They've smartened up their game and the challenges they pose aren't just physical.

"It's interesting to see that they'll concede a little bit at scrum-time to have more ball players in their team that'll tackle and maul well.

"They've got a tough and experienced squad.

"The final will be a 50/50 game‚ they're a Test team and all of that will flow into the international arena.”

Erasmus was quick to point out his concern in regards with the SA franchises not being able to get past the quarterfinals.

The Bulls and the Sharks‚ who were second and third in the SA conference‚ lost their quarter-finals to the Hurricanes and the Brumbies respectively.

That meant SA was without Super Rugby semifinal representation for the first time since 2015.

“The one positive of not making the Super Rugby play-offs is that you can get a bit of conditioning time into the players. That is a positive but game time is critical.

"They'll be a little bit underplayed.

"In the middle of the Super Rugby season‚ people said our guys are over-played. Because we didn't go too far into the play-offs‚ we might be a little bit under-done‚” Erasmus said.

“Some of the overseas guys finished quite a while ago‚ so that's something we are going to have to manage quite well.”

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