Rugby Championship News

Keep Argentina out of TriNations: Mauger





All Black centre Aaron Mauger has issued a telling warning to SANZAR’s bosses, claiming there is no room for them in the Tri Nations.

With a win over England last year and a gradual rise in stature over the past few years the pressure has been on to include the South Americans in either the Six or Tri Nations. The pressure was further cranked up when they beat France in the opening game of the 2007 World Cup.

However Mauger, who himself is heading to Europe after the World Cup, has said the Tri Nations does not need Argentina and further more the idea of Argentina playing their home matches in South America is one that does not excite him.

“The fact there is a new team in there could be quite refreshing for the boys but the fact that you have to travel a lot could take it out of the team, especially travelling to South Africa as well,” Mauger told NZPA

“They become quite long trips especially if you have to get back to play the next week. A lot of thought has to go into that one.

“Travel takes its toll, especially guys with families. Guys get a little bit homesick. You can’t do much about it because you’re a long way from home but it really takes its toll on you when you have to play a big test if you have just travelled for 15-16 hours.

“That’s one thing they have to decide because if we go and play in the Tri-Nations, they’d have to move everything and make a professional structure in Argentina and bring the players back to Argentina to play.

“It is impossible to have a double season to play Tri-Nations and then play in Europe. That’s why it’s not only the thing of saying, ‘OK give the Pumas a competition’. They have to make a proper structure. Rugby is a business so you have to show them the Pumas can be a good business.”

The same view is not shared by Felipe Contepomi, one of the stars behind Argentina’s uprising, who feels it is the right time to include the team ranked fourth in the world into one of the leading competitions.

“It’s been two wins against France and Georgia but you need to count the wins. In the last five games we have played France, we have beaten them four times and we’ve beaten England at Twickenham,” Contepomi said.

“We’ve been close to New Zealand and the Springboks. I think Argentina has been doing the right things to be introduced into a competition.

“I don’t know if it should be the Tri-Nations or Six Nations. There are talks and, hopefully, they will introduce Argentina into one competition because it would be a possibility to grow for the team and not play only two or three games every six or seven months.”

Given the choice, the Argentina kicker would rather play in the southern hemisphere where he said the competition was tougher.

“I think the best rugby is played in the southern hemisphere so I would love to play in the Tri-Mations,” he said.

“I still think we are quite behind those three teams in terms of power but if they give us the chance to compete maybe in a few years time we will close the gap.

“We proved against the northern hemisphere sides that perhaps we are closer. We beat all of them in the last four years so that maybe in terms of competition nowadays we are closer to the northern hemisphere but my dream would be to play against the best ones and that’s the southern hemisphere.”
365 Digital

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