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Sharks need to work Jaguares hard

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The Sharks leave for Buenos Aires today on one of the toughest assignments in Super Rugby this season

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HOW do you beat the high-flying Jaguares? The same way you eat an elephant according to philosophical Sharks prop Thomas du Toit.

The Sharks leave for Buenos Aires today on one of the toughest assignments in Super Rugby this season. The Jaguares have been arguably the form team in the competition ever since they flicked a switch in their match against the Sharks in Durban two months ago, and they have just returned home from a very successful four-match tour as comfortable SA conference leaders, and they will now have a raucous crowd cheering them on.

“They are a complete side, a Test team, and the way to beat them is the same way you eat an elephant bit by bit,” Du Toit said yesterday after the Sharks’ training session ahead of today’s departure.

“You have to break down all the facets of their play bit by bit. You can’t just go in and try and overthrow them in one shot. You need to chop away at them bit by bit and work them hard in all areas, while at the same making sure you take your opportunities.”

Above all, the Jaguares are a niggly team with their highly-physical approach to rucks and mauls where they get under the opposition’s skin.

“Taking them on in areas such as their robust play is how you break them down,” Du Toit said. “You have to be more physical than them and outmuscle and outpassion them. That is going to be the biggest challenge given how they respond to their supporters, but we have to do it.”

The Sharks beat the Jaguares in Argentina two years ago and the Lions won there earlier this season, although it is fair to say the Buenos Aires-based team are a different beast these days.

“It is a difficult place to travel to and it is a difficult crowd to handle. They are loud and in your face,” Du Toit recalls.

“We don’t want them to get their tails up,” Du Toit said.

“You want to start well against any team, but even more so with them they do tend to strike early in the game so it is going to be a challenge for us to keep them out.”