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Thread: Jaguares close to Super Rugby Return with Melbourne Rebels Demise

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    Immortal Contributor The InnFORCEr's Avatar
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    Jaguares close to Super Rugby Return with Melbourne Rebels Demise

    Americas Rugby News February 27, 2024

    Argentina’s former Super Rugby franchise is close to making a return. Writing for the NZ Herald, Liam Napier notes that the 2019 Super Rugby runners-up are placed as potential replacements for the Melbourne Rebels beginning next year.

    The Melbourne Rebels are one of five Australian teams in Super Rugby Pacific. They join five New Zealand teams, one Fijian team and one Pacific Islands team. The twelve-team league includes the Fijian Drua and Moana Pacifika as recent expansion teams. However, the league had fifteen teams in Los Jaguares final edition in 2020.

    Grave doubt of the survival of the Melbourne Rebels will be at the forefront of this coming weekend’s summit in Melbourne. The competition’s chief executive will hold a meeting with the franchise on verge of insolvency.

    The meeting is positioned ahead of a new round of negotiations for renewed broadcast deals. Super Rugby bosses need to agree on the format for 2025 and beyond. In short, changes are required in order for a twelve-team model to survive.

    This all means that the possible return of Los Jaguares to Super Rugby has been brought forward. In the days before Rugby World Cup 2023 got underway UAR President Gabriel Travelaglini confirmed the possibility is real that Argentina will be back in Super Rugby.

    The UAR’s invitation was to play in Super Rugby Pacific. The return date was for 2026. However, with the Melbourne Rebels being AU$20 million in debt there is a vacancy to which Los Jaguares is easily the leading possibility to full.

    The demise of the Melbourne Rebels is no secret and behind the scenes there are advanced talks between Super Rugby Pacific leaders and their counterparts in Argentina. Moreover, New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson confirmed to the Rugby Direct podcast that the discussions are urgent.

    The process has come so far so quickly that Napier notes that he understands the Jaguares are fast firming as the favored replacement. Agustín Pichot is reported to have said that Argentina is committed and is ready to return. This would come on a reduced budget when compared to Super Rugby 2016-2020.

    In terms of the potential player roster for Los Jaguares in Super Rugby 2025, no names are known at this stage. 31 of the 33 players on Michael Cheika’s roster for Rugby World Cup 2023 were selected from foreign clubs. The exceptions were Los Pumas 7’s ace Rodrigo Isgró and Nicolás Sánchez who was unattached at the time but now plays in Japan.

    Prior to joining Super Rugby in 2016, the UAR brought players home from Europe to form a competitive roster. Los Jaguares reached the final of the 2019 competition but a mass exodus came in 2020 when the Super Rugby season ended prematurely.

    The Jaguares, then as Jaguares XV, won SLAR 2021. In 2023 the competition was rebranded into Super Rugby Americas and changes saw Los Jaguares XV replaced with Los Pampas playing in Buenos Aires and Los Dogos in Córdoba.

    One possibility is for the roster to be a combination of players from these teams with some returnees from abroad. The salaries on offer for players will not match those elsewhere but some will be encouraged to return home. Unlike that from 2016-2020 it is very unlikely that a selection policy for Los Pumas will prioritize Jaguares’ over others.

    https://www.americasrugbynews.com/20...rebels-demise/

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    Veteran SNOB's Avatar
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    I personally would prefer to see a Japanese team as the time zones are a bit more friendly and travel won’t be as much especially for the Force! I know I’m being selfish.

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    Immortal GIGS20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SNOB View Post
    I personally would prefer to see a Japanese team as the time zones are a bit more friendly and travel won’t be as much especially for the Force! I know I’m being selfish.
    I don't know that it's quite as selfish as you suggest. Most of the current viewership exist within 5 hours of that timezone

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    C'mon the

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    On pure Rugby depth/quality Argentina is the obvious choice.
    Unfortunately for them, on financial and timezone factors it is likely a Japanese franchise.
    Argentina would be better off talking with MLR, as much as I would like to see them play SR again.
    Diversity of styles is what used to make it great watching almost every match.

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    Champion Tazzmania's Avatar
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    I suspect that the Japanese are not keen to join us, not the other way around.

    The Japanese rugby season co-incides with Super rugby.

    What would happen to the Japanese rugby eco system if a franchise is created.

    Who plays, where based, who pays........

    More questions than answers.........

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    They are running 23 pro teams (12 Div 1, 6 Div 2 and 5 Div 3)
    Hypothetically they could promote one Div 2 to Div 1, with one Div 1 getting promoted to SR and still have three viable levels domestically.
    Beyond that, it would probably revolve around Japanese sponsors/owners seeing value in marketing in the SH.

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