The Hurricanes hope vigilance from match officials, and a little footwork, can help them avoid injury from the Jaguares’ contentious low-tackling style.
The Argentina Super Rugby team’s apparent defensive method of targeting ball runners front-on at knee height has been criticised by some coaches and commentators, who have described it as dangerous.
Jaguares lock Tomas Lavanini drove into charging prop Nic Mayhew’s right knee during last weekend’s 24-16 loss to the Blues in Auckland.
Mayhew limped off and is expected to be sidelined for several weeks, prompting criticism from his Blues coach Tana Umaga.
“Safety’s a big issue, diving at people’s legs,” Umaga said.
“If it’s technically within the law then obviously that’s fine, but if it’s not then it needs to be looked at.”
Umaga’s thoughts were echoed by Chris Boyd, coach of the Hurricanes who face the struggling Jaguares in Wellington on Saturday.
Five-eighth Beauden Barrett said the South Americans are naturally physical players but their technique needs to be closely monitored by the referee.
“Maybe that’ll get looked at – hopefully they won’t take my knees out or anything,” he said.
“You can keep your feet and sidestep them, I guess, because sometimes when you lead with your head the eyes aren’t open. So there is that ability to beat the defender that way.”
Boyd says his team, coming off a bye, will need to be wary of the Jaguares despite their four-match losing trot.
He believes they have been unlucky in their debut season, after enduring narrow losses since win in the opening round.
“They play a lot of football. They’re probably the most optimistic team in the competition.”