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Rugby-Beating Crusaders no Mission Impossible for Jaguares - Creevy

Credit: REUTERS/Ross Setford

Agustin Creevy says the Jaguares now believe they can win every time they take to the pitch regardless of the opposition -- and that includes Saturday's Super Rugby final against the Canterbury Crusaders.

WELLINGTON, July 3 (Reuters) - Agustin Creevy says the Jaguares now believe they can win every time they take to the pitch regardless of the opposition -- and that includes Saturday's Super Rugby final against the Canterbury Crusaders.

The Argentine team have reached the final in their fourth season in the mostly southern hemisphere competition but will be rank outsiders when they take on the nine-times champions at their Christchurch fortress.

Former captain Creevy, however, said the strides the Jaguares have made since their 2016 debut means they will approach the match confident they can hand the Crusaders a first ever home playoff defeat.

"It's not impossible," said the inspirational hooker. "We came here to win, not to see what happens. We have what it takes to do that and we know how.

"The Crusaders are the best team in the tournament and have shown that but there is no such thing as impossible in sport, nor in a final where the mental side of the game and pressure are at work.

"Beyond the attributes of each side, the difference will be in the head. We know it'll be difficult, but we are confident and we know what to expect."

Creevy, a veteran of 83 test matches in a team made up entirely of Argentine internationals, said the speed of progression at the Jaguares had surprised even him.

"We knew that the opportunity to play in a Super Rugby final would come," he added.

"Maybe I thought we were going to take a little longer to get there and that's why I'm very grateful to be part of this great moment for the Jaguares that we worked so hard for.

"We got here because we have matured in every way. Before we would go out on the field and just see what happened but now we know we can win every match. Each year we learned and matured."

IMPORTANT BREAKTHROUGH

After finishing 13th and 10th in their first two seasons, the Jaguares made their debut in the playoffs last year, falling at the first hurdle to the Lions in Johannesburg.

"Last season, we reached the quarter-finals and that was an important breakthrough but the big jump came this year," Creevy said.

"There are players who used to be boys and now they have grown up and lead the team. Everyone knows what their role in the team is.

"We grew in every way. This year we had a big squad and the rotation allowed us all to play at our best. The star now is the team. Whoever plays, the team works and that has to do with the maturity we have now."

The Jaguares won the South Africa conference this year and beat former champions the Waikato Chiefs and the ACT Brumbies on home soil to reach their maiden final.

The semi-final was watched by a passionate crowd of 31,000 but Creevy said playing at the home of the most successful non-international rugby team in the world would make it a very special occasion.

"Without doubt, we would have liked to play the final in Buenos Aires because the support of the people was incredible," said the 34-year-old, who has lost all 14 of the tests he has played against the All Blacks.

"We have to play against Crusaders in Christchurch and that's a dream, because they are a team with a lot of history just like this city. It will be a very important challenge for us."

(Writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney, additional reporting by Andrew Downie, editing by Peter Rutherford)

((Nick.Mulvenney@tr.com; +61 2 9321 8190; Reuters Messaging: nick.mulvenney.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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