Rugby Championship News

Buenos Aires double header likely for Pumas

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SANZAR want Argentina to host two of the their three home matches in the newly named Rugby Championship next year in Buenos Aires according to CEO Greg Peters.

“I strongly recommend the UAR (Argentine Rugby Union) hold two games in Buenos Aires and one outside,” the New Zealander told an official presentation of Argentina’s participation in the tournament which succeeds the Tri-Nations championship.

Peter said that his recommendation is based on the logistical concerns the visiting teams would face in Argentina over and above the long journey to get there.

The CEO emphasised the importance of the new tournament by saying: “Next year we will have the first, second, fourth and seventh ranked teams in the world. We will have the best versus the best.”

UAR president Luis Castillo said he would like to see the Pumas play their home matches in provincial venues as well as the capital.

Argentina will make their long awaited debut in a major international competition away to South Africa on August the 18th but earlier on the same day Australia will be at home to world champions New Zealand.

“This a historic day for national (Argentine) rugby…We are committed to showing we can be better,” Castillo told Reuters, adding that for the Pumas this was like entering Formula One.

Former Argentina captain Agustin Pichot who has been crucial to getting his country into the Rugby Championship said that the UAR had broken people’s perception that they were not able to plan long term.

“After (third place at the World Cup in) 2007 we committed ourselves to forming a team off the field (to push this forward) because it was unfair that the Pumas weren’t (in a major competition),” Pichot said.

“I felt this as a player the most important thing was that the players should have the opportunity. It’s going to be very hard but that’s how you learn.”

Argentina’s entry into what was the TriNations was helped by an International Board ruling which should allow European clubs to release Argentina’s players for the June and November international windows.

Most of Argentina’s players play their club game in Europe but SANZAR president Mike Eagle says that the Puma players should play their game in tournaments such as Super Rugby with the ultimate goal of having a franchise in the tournament.

“By having your players in the southern hemisphere, you won’t have the problems you have (now) with your players in the northern hemisphere facing the restrictions of each country,” he said.

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