Pumas poised for Tri-Nations place
March 6, 2010
Argentina could soon be celebrating a place in the Tri Nations © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board (IRB) will reportedly fund Argentina's entry into an expanded Tri-Nations competition.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, the game's governing body is willing to provide the Pumas with A$2.2 million to secure their entry into the southern hemisphere tournament in time for the 2012 series.
IRB chief executive Mike Miller refused to comment on the issue during a visit to New Zealand earlier this week but he did confirm that an announcement on Argentina's hopes of securing a berth in the Tri-Nations was imminent.
The South Americans have long campaigned for entry into either of rugby's annual international tournaments, the Tri-Nations or the Six Nations. There had been suggestions that their preference would be to join the latter, given that the majority of their players ply their trade in Europe. Indeed, in order to overcome the logistical problem of moving between two continents, it was even mooted that Argentina would stage their 'home' games in Spain.
However, their bid for inclusion in the Tri-Nations has gathered momentum over the past year and last September the Argentines were issued with a formal invite from SANZAR, the umbrella group which represents the existing member nations South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.
The offer was conditioned upon the Pumas fielding field full-strength sides in every round and the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) providing SANZAR with proof that it had the necessary finances to underwrite its participation. Under the proposed expanded format, each team would play each other twice, on a home-and away basis.