Rugby Championship News

Bringing the Pumas in would be a great positive: Eales

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Former Wallabies captain John Eales has backed calls for Argentina to be included in either the Tri-Nations or the Six Nations tournaments.

The Pumas are currently third on the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings, their highest-ever standing that comes on the back of their appearance in the semi-finals of the World Cup in France last month where they beat hosts France twice and lost only one match which was against South Africa.

Los Pumas are largely an amateur structured team and they are the only nation in the top ten who do not play in a regular competition such as the SixNations or TriNations.

The lack of competition has forced may of their players to play their game for European clubs where many of their players are now based.

Eales says on the 7Sport website that it was unfair for the Pumas to be excluded from an annual international competition.

“We have the sides that play in the Six Nations, the sides that play in the Tri-Nations and then there’s Argentina left out at sea to some extent,” he said.

“So to see anything that can promote them having more opportunity to play better games more regularly is a great positive.”

Argentina’s status is on the agenda at IRB’s global forum being held in England this week.

The IRB say that they cannot directly influence where Argentina play in a tournament but that they want to fund the infrastructure that would make the Pumas viable participants in either of the competitions.

“We must have agreed outcomes for this money… which we believed we had already agreed two years ago,” Egan an IRB spokesman said.

“Once the outcomes are agreed and a comprehensive strategic plan for the union is in place, then the IRB executive committee will consider how the funding should be released.

“The new regime (of Alejandro Risler which came in at the end of 2005) didn’t agree with the original high performance plans that had taken nearly six months to prepare,” Egan told Reuters.

“They felt that they were entitled to the funding without any strings attached and that they should be allowed to spend it as they see fit.”

“This was unacceptable to the IRB executive committee and everything went back to square one.”
 
TriNationsweb.com

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