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No TriNations entry for Argentina anytime soon




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Despite huge frustration from Argentina NZRU boss Steve Tew says that SANZAR will not be rushed into including Argentina into the TriNations.

Tew was in Sydney this week for a two day meeting with other SANZAR bosses and former Pumas captain Augustin Pichot who is concerned over Argentina’s place in world rugby.

Pichot said last week that he wants Argentina to join the SixNations as most of the country’s players are based in Europe (mainly France).

SixNations bosses however have said that they do not want to expand their hugely successful tournament to include Argentina.

Pichot is therefore leading the charge for his country to be included in the Southern Hemisphere’s leading international tournament.

Tew says that Pichot made a passionate case for Argentina’s inclusion but said that will only happen when the time is right.

“Gus’ (Pichot) was in Sydney along with the other guys that have been working on their development,” Tew told Sunday News.

“They’ve done a lot of good work in Argentina over the last 12-18 months in terms of sorting out their organisation.”

“They gave us an update on what they’re doing to try to join the TriNations and that was encouraging.”

“But there is still plenty of work for them to do and we’re just going to keep working with them.”

Last week Pichot said that he was growing frustrated with the stipulations put in front of Argentina in their quest for meaningful test rugby.

Tew however said that the TriNations is too valuable for the NZRU to take risks with it.

“We’ve been talking to Gus for 24 months. I wouldn’t call them frustrations,” he said.

“We’ve simply said the TriNations is the jewel in our crown, it’s our largest competition asset.

“It’s incredibly important to the future of rugby in all three countries because it’s one of the main income earners for us, so we’re not prepared to put that at risk until there’s a very sound business case to do so.

“There are two big obstacles to overcome.”

“One is whether they’ll bring any additional revenue into the tournament that we can all share, secondly can they get their best players out of France?”

“They’ve made good progress on all of those things, but there is still work to do. We do a lot to help world rugby, we just don’t think the TriNations is the thing to put at risk in that regard,” he said.

“From a rugby point of view we see some real merit in having Argentina involved, we think it would spice up the TriNations nicely.

“But only if they are competitive, therefore they’ve got to be able to get their players out of the French clubs.

“This is why we’ve involved the IRB in all the discussions.”

Tew would not be pressed into putting a timeframe on Argentina joining the TriNations but would say that it was unlikely that it would be in the near future.

“There is no prospect of them joining the TriNations before the next World Cup and it might be some time after that,” he said.

While in Sydney Sanzar bosses did more work on the broadcasting deal they’re due to take to News Ltd by the end of the month which will include expanding Super Rugby to a Super15 .

“All three countries are focused on it and we have a good team working for us,” Tew said.

“It will be a matter of seeing what the market is going to take.”

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