18 Dec 2015

Los Jaguares revealed in Argentina

11:30 am on 18 December 2015

Argentina has officially unveiled the country's new Super Rugby franchise, the Jaguars, and named former Pumas captain Felipe Contepomi on the coaching staff.

The Jaguars Super Rugby emblem.

The Jaguars Super Rugby emblem. Photo: Supplied

All of the 30-man squad, which was also revealed, have Test-level experience and the majority were members of the Argentina team that reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in England in October.

The Jaguars, who have been invited into next year's expanded 18-team championship in which a Japanese franchise will also make its debut, will be coached by Raul Perez, right-hand man to Argentina head coach Daniel Hourcade.

"We are continuing on a growth path which takes us to our participation in the world's best club competition, where we will face the best teams and best players on the planet," said the Argentine Rugby Union's new professional rugby manager Greg Peters.

Contepomi, Argentina's record Test points scorer, and former Pumas centre Martin Gaitan will be part of Perez's coaching staff for the competition in which Jaguares make their debut away to South Africa's Cheetahs on February 26th.

They will play their home matches at the 50,000-capacity Jose Amalfitani stadium, home to first division soccer club Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires, where the Pumas have played many home Tests.

Their first home match will be against the Chiefs on March 18th.

The players, led by Pumas captain and hooker Agustin Creevy, are all home-based and contracted to the UAR.

Some, such as World Cup centre Juan Martin Hernandez and back row forward Juan Manuel Leguizamon, have ended their European club careers.

"This is something historic, that there should be a professional Argentine team in a tournament like this where the best rugby in the world is played," said Creevy.

"I have no doubt that with Los Jaguares in Super Rugby, the sport will become even more popular (in Argentina) and... interest more people and potential players."

This year's Super Rugby competition was made up of 15 teams from southern hemisphere powerhouses New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

- Reuters