Jaguares proof Pumas can end 35-yr drought
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Jaguares proof Pumas can end 35-yr drought

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Winning on Australian soil hasn't come easy for Argentina but the Los Pumas team that runs out for Saturday's Rugby Championship clash will already know what it takes.

That's because they've done it twice already this year.

Inspiration: The Jaguares claimed two wins on Australian soil this year.

Inspiration: The Jaguares claimed two wins on Australian soil this year.Credit:PA

Not since 1983, when the two nations met at Test level for the first time, have Los Pumas managed to defeat the Wallabies on the road.

But it's a different story for Super Rugby's Jaguares, whose form should give the South Americans genuine hope of snapping that 35-year drought on the Gold Coast.

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The Jaguares beat the Melbourne Rebels and Brumbies in their away fixtures this season while also knocking off the NSW Waratahs in Buenos Aires as they qualified for the finals for the first time in franchise history.

Former Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma, now in charge of Los Pumas, masterminded all three victories.

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The only match they dropped against Aussie opposition was to the Queensland Reds in a huge round five upset, giving Ledesma a 75 per cent success rate.

To say there will be a slight Jaguares flavour to this Argentina team would be putting it mildly.

Every single member of the starting Pumas team that fell 46-24 to the All Blacks last weekend, and six of the seven players who came off the bench, played for the Jaguares this year.

It's that continuity, and Ledesma's intimate knowledge of Australian rugby, that should give Michael Cheika and his men cause for concern.

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"There's probably a lot of similarities to the way we like to play," utility back Dane Haylett-Petty said.

"Mario's probably taken quite a few things that he's learned from Cheik and taken them back there.

"I think something that helps them is probably playing all year together.

"They've played pretty much 15 games together through Super Rugby and now carried on some good form into Test footy.

"They're a very good team that's come a long way in a short space of time."

AAP