Justin Marshall is a former All Blacks halfback and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Justin Marshall: Chiefs will be tested by Jaguares

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The Jaguares. Photo / Getty
The Jaguares. Photo / Getty

This weekend there is one game in particular that I'm looking forward to, and that is the historic match in Buenos Aires between the Jaguares and Chiefs on Sunday.

Out of the three new teams in the expanded format the Jaguares have had the most difficult task as they had to play their first two matches in South Africa.

They were super impressive there, winning their first one 34-33 against the Cheetahs and just missing out 19-15 against the Sharks. Yes, they have a lot of Pumas in their line-up, but it's another thing entirely to hit the ground running in Super Rugby and they've done that.

Now, they have recovered with a bye and are ready to take on the Chiefs at home.

How Dave Rennie's men fare after their tough trip to South America from South Africa will be extremely interesting because never mind the travel, playing in Argentina is tough enough by itself.

I played there in 1994 with New Zealand A and I can say for a pretty naive wide-eyed boy from Matuaura on one of his first trips overseas, it was one heck of an experience. The Argentines are very passionate people, and that's just the supporters.

We lost the game, but one of the best experiences I've had at a sporting event was going to a football match featuring Diego Maradona's former club Boca Juniors. I've never been to anything like it since. Maybe 30 per cent of the crowd watched the game and the rest had a party. The atmosphere and singing was out of this world.

I've played for the All Blacks at home and all over the world, and while we were aware of the support it didn't drive us. The Argentines' culture is all about emotion and for me that makes for a fascinating challenge this Sunday. A lot of the Chiefs players wouldn't have been to Argentina before, and the stadium is likely to be packed.

If the Jaguares keep a winning record at home they should make the playoffs. They are playing a similar game plan to what the Pumas played at the World Cup. It's very All Black like with hooker Agustin Creevy popping up in the outside channels and backs forwards combining. It gives them a real balance. They can scrum and maul you to death but they're also a handful out wide.

They're big and powerful men and the Chiefs will have their hands full on Sunday.

- NZ Herald

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Justin Marshall is a former All Blacks halfback and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Justin Marshall played 81 test matches for the All Blacks, including four as captain. The halfback made his debut in 1995 against France and ended his career 10 years later with a series sweep over the British and Irish Lions. He won five Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders, playing 105 games for the franchise. He commentates for Sky Television.

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