Rugby Championship News

Argentina better suited for Six Nations :O’Neill





The NZ Herald says that Australian rugby chief John O’Neill believes Argentina’s World Cup heroes would prefer to join the northern hemisphere’s Six Nations tournament.
O’Neill kind of turns the whole idea of who should be in the TriNations on it’s head by said that Australia and New Zealand had “a big obligation” to help Pacific island neighbours Fiji, Samoa and Tonga, who also performed with distinction in France.

Argentina, the only one of the top eight ranked countries not playing in either the Six Nations or Tri-Nations, have pleaded for admission to one of the tournaments.

O’Neill said the Pumas had strong claims after finishing third at the World Cup – twice beating hosts France – but stressed it had yet to be determined which tournament would suit them best.
With many of the Pumas playing for European clubs, the Six Nations might be a more natural fit. The time zones in Europe and Argentina were also marginally better matched.

O’Neill said: “Argentina’s credentials are fantastic to play at a higher level, where they can be accommodated is yet to be determined.

“Their players, as I understand it, would prefer to play in Europe and be based in Europe. The logistical issues with Argentina are the sheer distances and the time changes.

Directly after France lost for the second time to Argentina Raphael Ibanez said that the Argentineans must enjoy this moment now because they don’t have the depth to continue this. He does have a point.

“The Argentinians predominantly play in France and England, the average age of their team is about 29 and we are not sure how much depth is coming through underneath,” O’Neill added.

“Closer to home, we have to say we have a big obligation to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

“Those sort of issues don’t necessarily have as much magnitude with Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, and for that matter, Japan.

“Australia and New Zealand, in particular, have a very strong obligation to the Pacific island nations. We’ve got a lot of thinking to do – and we shouldn’t really close our mind to any option at this stage.”

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