View Poll Results: The UAR should:

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  • Continue to push for the Six Nations, despite this setback

    5 25.00%
  • Now refocus on SANZAR for inclusion in a Southern Hemisphere Competition

    15 75.00%
  • Wither on the vine in their Amateur wonderland.

    0 0%
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Thread: los Pumas, where to from here???

  1. #1
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    los Pumas, where to from here???

    Pumas told to join Tri Nations

    November 13, 2007 - 9:33AM

    A chorus appears to be growing for Argentina to join the Tri Nations, rather than the Six Nations, as the Pumas look to find a home in international rugby's annual tournament calendar.

    Despite Argentina submitting an application to join the northern hemisphere's Six Nations, and former great Hugo Porta coming out and saying it was "more viable" for the World Cup bronze medalists to play in the north, latest reactions appear to favour an alignment in the south.

    The Six Nations committee met recently in London and gave a firm indication that they viewed a Pumas fit with the Tri Nations as the best option.

    "The unanimous view was that a berth had to be found for Argentina in a major tournament," Martyn Thomas, the chairman of the Rugby Football Union's management board, told the Guardian newspaper. "Their performances not just in the World Cup but in recent years merit that.

    "The feeling was that, logistically, they would be better off in the Tri Nations. They are a southern-hemisphere team and increasing the size of the Six Nations could lead to fixture problems."

    The Guardian also quoted veteran Pumas back Felipe Contepomi backing a move into the Tri Nations.

    "I think our future lies in the Tri Nations," said Contepomi. "Otherwise we risk becoming too reliant on European clubs signing up our emerging players."

    The future of the Pumas is expected to be a hot topic at the IRB's conference on an "integrated" international season in England at the end of the month.

    Solving the Pumas conundrum

    November 13, 2007 - 9:38AM

    It's a vexed issue in the rugby world - just where do the Pumas belong? Is it in the Tri-Nations along with their southern hemisphere mates or is it up north in an expanded Six Nations which is where all their professionals ply their trade?

    There are clearly no easy answers, though given their outstanding performances on the international stage it has become increasingly obvious the Argentineans belong somewhere. RugbyHeaven co-editors Marc Hinton and Duncan Johnstone make their cases for Pumas inclusion in the world's leading competitions, one of which will surely come to pass before too long.

    TRI-NATIONS - Marc Hinton

    This is a win-win situation as far as I see it, providing the Argentineans can find a solution to their players being available at the end of their long season of club commitments in the north.

    The Pumas win because they get to play in the world's leading annual international competition - and despite what the so-called pundits of the north will try to infer, the Tri-Nations is far superior to the standard of rugby on offer in the Six Nations.

    And the Tri-Nations wins because it gets a much-needed makeover courtesy of the addition of a fourth, highly competitive team capable of giving the big three a real shakeup.

    There are hurdles to clear before this can become a reality - notably the fact that with all the leading Argentineans playing their rugby in the UK or Europe, just how can their test stars be asked to commit to an extra two-month programme at the end of their long club season?

    Semantics really. Maybe it just means that Pumas test players have to start their club campaigns a few weeks later to enable them to fit in their two-month break between seasons.

    Maybe the Tri-Nations comes forward to fit in. The whole international window is up for review later this month, and it should be that the case of the Pumas entering an expanded Tri-Nations is discussed then. Instead of looking for reasons not to accommodate them, southern hemisphere officials must surely be saying, "We want them, now how can we best do it".

    The addition of Argentina, who proved at the World Cup they're now one of the world's most competitive outfits, would really breathe some much needed life into the Tri-Nations which has clearly become tired and just a little too repetitive.

    Plus, last time I looked Argentina was a massive country with a lot of upside in terms of potential commercial clout. OK, their economy isn't the flashest at the moment, but that may not always be the case and taking a top international competition into their midst could well provide just the boost that rugby needs to capture a bigger slice of a sporting market dominated by the round-ball code.

    I know there's a lot of talk that the Tri-Nations should perhaps be looking after their own backyard in the Pacific before moving heaven and earth to open the doors to Argentina.

    But the fact of the matter is Argentina could come straight into the competition now and add to the product. For all their underdog qualities, Fiji or Samoa or Tonga, or even a combination of all three, would not to do the same. Also, they would struggle to fill large stadiums or bring potential global television audiences in the sort of numbers that the Pumas could offer.

    I'm not saying forget the Pacific. Maybe with the right backer, a combined islands outfit could join the Pumas in a new five-team super southern hemisphere championship. And surely the top couple of teams from that would then go forth to play off against the best two from up north in a global showdown operating in non-World Cup years.

    That makes a heck of a lot of sense.

    But the first step towards that is getting the Pumas into the new Four-Nations. They deserve it, and, let's face it, we the rugby fans of the south also deserve them. Now it's up to the movers and shakers to make it happen.

    SIX NATIONS - Duncan Johnstone

    There could be an argument to simply toss a coin on this one because there are compelling reasons to give the Pumas a permanent home on either side of the equator.

    But when you hear Hugo Porta, Argentina's greatest player and IRB representative, declaring that the best fit for the Pumas is in the Six Nations then the rugby world should sit up and take notice.

    The basis of the reasoning for planting the Pumas in Europe is that their leading players are virtually all playing professionally there.

    In fact there are about 400 Argentines playing throughout Europe.

    So to have them operating as a national team in the same time zone as test rugby up north is really the only answer.

    That is the best way to avoid the complicated club v country situation that seems to ruin the international game in the northern hemisphere.

    It would also be a big cost-cutting exercise, negating the need to be flying players back and forth between Europe and South America.

    The Pumas seem content to be transplants with talk of basing them in Barcelona or Brussels while the Six Nations is played out.

    There are other upsides to having the Pumas operating up north. Their presence in Europe would allow Sanzar to explore the possibility of incorporating a Pacific Islands or Asian factor into their competitions which seems a much more natural fit.

    Perhaps the IRB could kill two birds with one stone here by trying to accommodate the needs of both the Pumas and the islanders, the teams that made the biggest moves at the World Cup.

    It might sound odd to have Argentina placed alongside England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy. But they aren't exactly neighbours to New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

    The more you look at Argentina the more you realise that they are a special case that needs special attention.

    Let's just hope that whether it's the Six Nations or the Tri-Nations, the IRB finds a home for the Pumas quick-smart.

    They have been neglected for too long when rugby has been screaming out for ways to increase its depth of talent to make events like the World Cup and test rugby in general more competitive.

    It's time for action.

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  2. #2
    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    It's a bit of a toss up as to which option is better.
    The Europe line has shorter flight times and better player access for them.
    Whilst SANZAR has a tougher comp - which matches the Argies style and determination a little better.

    It will come down to two key points:
    availability of best players - this will need SANZAR to rejig or realign shedules (something which is possibly on the cards in any case)
    Finances - the key question for Argentina will be where (markets) will sponsors get the biggest bang for their buck? I still feel that marketing into Europe (6N - 188 million; all Europe 500 million) will have more appeal than SH (3N - 72 million).
    From SANZAR perspective - sponsor stand to gain exposure to another 40 million so current 3N sponsors may see a benefit.

    As long as there is a trade arrangement to export Bundy and Aust. wine to Arg and import argentinian wines (and maybe cheerleaders) - We could be the big winner.

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  3. #3
    Champion KenyaQuin's Avatar
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    Good points Hopep,

    Quote Originally Posted by hopep View Post

    It will come down to two key points:
    availability of best players - this will need SANZAR to rejig or realign shedules (something which is possibly on the cards in any case)
    I think Sanzar were looking at using the Argies as a bargaining chip for the 2010 televising rights. Fortunately or unfortunately for them, the push for the Argies inclusion has come sooner.

    Quote Originally Posted by hopep View Post
    Finances - the key question for Argentina will be where (markets) will sponsors get the biggest bang for their buck? I still feel that marketing into Europe (6N - 188 million; all Europe 500 million) will have more appeal than SH (3N - 72 million).
    I would imagine that the Tri-Nations reaches as many, if not more, people world wide. As an example, years ago living in Hawaii, I watched the Tri Nations on Cable TV but don't recall the 5/6 Nations being televised. Perhaps LarryNJ could confirm the current situation in the US. Anyway, my point is sponsors would still get plenty of mileage with the Tri Nations.

    Quote Originally Posted by hopep View Post
    As long as there is a trade arrangement to export Bundy and Aust. wine to Arg and import argentinian wines (and maybe cheerleaders) - We could be the big winner.
    I like the cheerleaders idea.

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    "The whole international window is up for review later this month"

    If a truly international season comes about, the question may be whether there will be any 6N and 3/4N at all to worry about. I for one would not be averse to the idea of a global international season comprising proper tours rather than one off matches.

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  5. #5
    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    Yes AndyS the international window is up for review, but the IRB and 6N response that "theres no room for Argentina" says they still see it as a North/South divide.
    I tend to agree - a regional focus develops the intensity. I still think Argnetina will be trying for the northern hemisphere (due to player locations) but if the whole season think is given a good shake up it may pay them to stay south.

    Hadn't thought of KQ's point about the 3N televised wider that 6N for advertising revenue, that may change a lot of things - especially if News (or who ever bids for the post 2010 TV rights) is interested in breaking into south america.

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    just throwing some ideas out there....

    hows about:

    2008- add argentina to the tri-nations
    -start all-america rugby championship (teams from arg, uruguay, usa, canada etc.) largely amatuer but atleast laying an all be it low standard of international club pro rugby, allowing all countries involved to provide a pathway system based at home, rather than relying on overseas comps to develop there players, and for arg club teams could use this time to develop in order to join the s14 in 2011? when the current media rights deal is renewed.
    -run the pacific nations w/out aus A and junior all blacks during the s 14, maybe include usa and canada with the independant pac islands and japan.

    2009- add pacific islands team to tri-nations.

    2009-2011- a major shake-up of the s14 with o'neill wanting an inclusion of a 5th aus s14 team based in vic, adding of 2-3 arg sup14 teams, what to do with the pacific islands?? add them to s14 too? keep them running in re-jigged pac islands tournament?

    i think alot of this makes good sense, but im putting it up for discussion, so let me know your opinion..

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  7. #7
    Legend Contributor slomo's Avatar
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    if SANZRAr accepts argentina into the tri nations does that extend to an expanded S14 competiton to include at least 2 argentinian club sides?

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  8. #8
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    I don't think there is a direct link slomo but it would be nice to think so for mine.

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  9. #9
    Senior Player Contributor hopep's Avatar
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    I think Felix may be onto a reasonable option.
    something like a Pro-Am Super 10 from the americas. Easy to do 5 north and 5 south.
    That would lift the local comp and provide some profesional level development in Argi (and Uraguay, Canada, USA).

    I don't think we can seriously consider the S14 as an 'ever expanding' concept. You get to the point were you either don't play each team - or it splinters into regional sub-comps with playoffs. The spectacle of the S10/12/14 has been the international context and playing each team - a true measure of your teams standing.

    But a 4N comp would be great especially if funding for a PI (combined) team was around in 2010 or so.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    I don't think there is a direct link slomo but it would be nice to think so for mine.
    I'm not so sure Burgs! Understandably, they are commercially separate entities at the moment, but historically, they are pretty closely linked, and there is certainly an argument for the linkage. They are both administered by SANZAR and therefore that link could be [re]forged.

    My idea (even though slomo beat me to it) was exactly that, Argentina into 3N and S14 at the same time, with IRB sanctioned contract adjustments to allow their best player the opportunity to play for an Argentine provincial team if they want to.

    Then pull the same trick with the pacific islands when they are able to handle the infrastructure.

    It is a simple way to manage the inclusion problems, and it expands both products pretty quickly. (might be a bit of a bugger on the SA teams for Away games against the Argies!)

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    C'mon the

  11. #11
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    Yeah sorry, by "link" I was referring to the plan rather than between 3N and S14.

    My understanding is they are lobbying for the national teams inclusion at this stage rather than worrying about Provincial level which they still see to be an Amateur domain.
    They certainly wouldn't be having a Provincial team if entering the NH comp.

    My preferred model would also incorporate two Super Rugby Provincial sides.
    As I mentioned in an earlier thread I would imagine one would be based on the competition in the capital and the other probably based in Cordoba as a focal point in the Union mad Nor West for all the hinterland Unions. Possibly see them use a couple of grounds like the kiwi teams do. Mendoza and Santa Fe would be two more obvious locations with a love of Union and larger populations.

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