Socino tips Jaguares for Super Rugby finals


Argentina international Juan Pablo Socino has tipped Jaguares to reach the Super Rugby knockout stages, despite participating in the competition for the first time this season.

Jaguares were added as part of the tournament's expansion to 18 teams for the 2016 campaign and have assembled a squad including many of Socino's Pumas team-mates from their fourth-place finish at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Buenos Aires-based team began the season with an impressive 34-33 win over Cheetahs, overturning a 21-point deficit that was built following yellow cards to Nicolas Sanchez and Martin Landajo.

Socino believes Jaguares showed they have the capacity to make the finals if the squad can be kept fit.

He told Omnisport: "I think so [they can make it to the knockout stages]. If they keep injury free, I think they've got a really good chance.

"But either way it'll just be a really good chance for a lot of players to get a really high level of competition every week."

The Newcastle Falcons centre says the players are eager to make the most of the opportunity to participate in Super Rugby and prove their ability at a high level.

"They've been looking for this chance for years and to be able to be in that competition and to get the result they got, especially coming back from two yellows and being down on the scoresheet, was just amazing," Socino added.

"They're [the players] really enjoying it. They're living the dream and they just want to do the best they can. They know how important it is and they want to take the opportunity and make the most of it.

"A lot of eyes are looking at them and seeing how they perform and seeing if it was the right decision to get them involved. So there's pressure, but it's a nice pressure for them to perform and show what they're able to do."

Jaguares face the Sharks in their second match on Saturday.