First Super Rugby Experience Jaguares v Chiefs - Velez Sarsfield

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Post by Collapse2005 on Tue 09 Apr 2019, 2:39 pm

So anyways for any of you curious enough to fly 16 hours in an ancient and absolutely freezing British Airways plane to find out what a super rugby game is like here's my version of events. By the way BA flights to Buenos Aires aren't worth it, fly KLM or Iberia, the entertainment system is about as high resolution as a game boy and probably less fun. Staff aren't particularly interested either.


Game Day

Buenos Aires is an absolutely kick ass city with bags of culture and things to do. On game day I made my way by Uber to the  José Amalfitani stadium in the Velez Sarsfield suburb of BA. The stadium that is home to the Jaguares is an adapted football ground which normally hosts Velez Sarsfield who this year finished 6th in the primera division league about appox 17 points behind league leaders Racing. The pitch features a moate on two sides of the pitch and high fences on the other sides presumably to prevent over zealous fans invading the pitch (these days away fans aren't allowed travel to away games anymore in Argentina as its too dangerous).

To super rugby's credit there is a nice enough atmosphere around the ground; camera crews, fanzones and the buzz of ESPN drones adding to the overall experience and perhaps compensating for the lack of away fans or fans in general. As it turned out the stadium was close to a quarter full which wasn't too bad.

The Match Itself

Two decent sides featuring some really good players. Lavanini, Moroni, Moyano, Bofelli and Tuculet all familiar faces for the Jaguares while brothers Marty and Damian McKenzie pulled the strings for the Chiefs. Its the second time I have seen Damian McKensie play and was more impressed this time. Despite constantly getting smashed by giants like Lavinini he kept coming back for more and was probably the difference between the two sides in the end. Well that and the Jaguares ability to shoot themselves in the foot consistently in key moments with unnecessary knock ons and poor defense. With a score line of 27-30 (three tries each) and some nice moments from both teams and a thrilling come back by the Jaguares the game was well worth the approx. €10 entrance however, the quality of rugby over all wasn't much greater than a pro 14 game. I don't think Leinster would struggle to put away either of these sides most days albeit both teams were missing good players.

Atmosphere

The biggest criticism is possibly the atmosphere. The organisers clearly are doing their best to generate atmosphere but for the most part the crowd made up of what it seemed were predominantly the upper echelons of Buenos Aires society simply weren't that loud. By way of an acid test of sorts I visited La Bombonera home to Boca Juniors the night before to witness a 2-0 win over Banfield and I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. From minute 1 the Boca fans chain-sing their full catalogue of anti-England, pro-Malvinas songs until the final whistle creating one of the most intensely bonkers sporting environments on earth. Even the drink sellers participate in the madness. I witnessed them taking used cups out of the bins, refilling them and selling them on again but no one cares as long as Boca wins such is the more than just a sport devotion they seem to have for their team. It was intimidating, exhilarating and entertaining in equal measure. Alas what Velez Sarsfield lacks in atmosphere it more than makes up for it in intimidation free family friendly fun day out.

Quality of rugby - 6/10
Atmosphere - 2/10
Super rugby organisation - 8/10
Fans - 8/10
Overall Experience - 7-10


Last edited by Collapse2005 on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 9:19 am; edited 1 time in total

Collapse2005

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 12:44 am

Great account!

Did you let on you were English at the Boca game? I'd be pretty intimidated to go to a game like that in Argentina tbh so fair play.

Jaguares are great to watch but as you say, have an amazing ability to steal defeat from the jaws of victory with silly decisions.

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Post by Collapse2005 on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 9:18 am

Im Irish and I speak Spanish and I was with my Argentinean brother in law so I was all good in the hood but I was still actually a bit intimidated. They segregate the fans even though there is a flat out ban on away supporters. Crazy supporters go behind the goals and the rest in the other stands.

Re the Jaguares they are baffling. They have really good players, really good facilities etc but just make too many daft mistakes.

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 10:29 am

Ha sorry, dont know why I thought English!

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Post by yappysnap on Thu 11 Apr 2019, 10:31 am

Ive watched the Jaguares implode a fair few times now. Very amateur in some ways which is crazy as you say.


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