Super 15

Perez excited to lead Jaguares in 'the NBA of rugby'

Raul Perez is proud to be leading Jaguares in their first Super Rugby campaign, a competition he calls the NBA of the sport.

Jaguares are the first Argentinian team in the competition and will make their debut, along with Japanese side Sunwolves and South Africa's Southern Kings, in the 2016 edition.

The squad includes a number of players from the Argentina squad that finished fourth at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, where Perez was assistant to coach Daniel Hourcade.

The 50-year-old cannot wait to get underway with friendlies against Stormers (February 13) and Lions (February 19) before beginning the Super League season at Cheetahs on February 26.

However, he believes their first season is largely about gaining experience.

"It's the NBA of rugby, because it has individually great players and we are included. It looked like a dream, but we are here and I have the good fortune to be coach of his team," Perez said.

"It is a great pride, which comes strapped to a huge responsibility. Last year we ended on a high level with this squad. That should be the base for these players.

"We have to gain experience in the first year, so the goals are short-term. We are going to go through bad times.

"With it being the first year we will have to gain experience, but we are very excited."

Being the only side from South America, Jaguares will spend prolonged periods away from home throughout the season, but Perez hopes it helps form a tight group.

"This tournament will keep us together for long periods and allow us to develop the identity of which we are speaking," he added.

"First, we got to South Africa and make the adjustments we have to, according to fatigue or injuries. Then we have the month in Oceania and Japan. There we will see where we stand."

On Friday, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino became the latest Argentina international to sign for the club following the expiration of his contract at Munster.