Rugby Championship News

Argentina might have to wait ten years





Last week the IRB issued a statement saying that Argentina’s future lies in Southern Hemisphere top flight rugby by 2012. That can only mean that they will be included in the TriNations.

In theory and on paper that sounds pretty straight forward. In reality, it’s far from it.

Pretty much everyone agrees that the TriNations needs something to lift it a little and to make it more exciting and including Argentina would go a long way towards doing that.

The problem is that most of their players are playing Northern Hemisphere Rugby or are in a rest period when the TriNations is on so getting them to field full strength teams for the TriNations is very difficult.

“We certainly believe there is some potential for them to be involved in the Tri-Nations at some stage,” New Zealand Rugby Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew told Radio Sport and NZ Herald. “But there is obviously a bit to be done before then.”

What has to be done is that they need to set up a tournament of their own to support their players for the rest of the 10 months of the year.

So it appears that until such a time as Argentina can retain its players on home soil which some experts estimate will take 10 to 12 years at the least, the Pumas are going to have to make do with an enlarged international programme that will see them playing annual Tests against the TriNations teams on a alternate basis.

“There has been IRB funding available to Argentina for some time, but the trick has been getting Argentina into a position where they can wisely spend that money because the domestic game hasn’t been in great shape.”said Tew.

“What we wisely spent a lot of time talking about was how do we in the short term recognise the performance of Argentina, and enable them to play international rugby with the facts on the table that all of their players make a living in either France or England. That’s quite tricky.”

Tew also indicated that Argentina’s long term future is probably more likely to be in the Americas, “One of the things we were involved in was a workshop on what does the game look like in 2020. It’s quite possible by then there will be an American league of some sort and Argentina might be better off playing in that in the first instance.”  

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