Today, Tuesday November 22, saw the official announcement in Buenos Aires of Argentina´s participation in The Rugby Championship, an event that is to start next year in place of the Tri Nations with Los Pumas joining the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies in the Southern Hemispher´s first tier tournament. An important meeting took place throughout the day at the Alvear Palace Hotel. It included members of the SANZAR Executive Committee and a Press Conference, which was attended by Luis Castillo (President of the Union Argentina de Rugby), Manuel Galindo (Chairman of the Subcommittee on High Performance), Agustin Pichot (Representative of the UAR in the SANZAR), Mike Eagle (Chairman of the SANZAR ) and Greg Peters (CEO of SANZAR).
Importantly, this week, the authorities of the SANZAR (entity that brings together the Union of South Africa, New Zealand and Australia) and maintained various meetings held in Argentina. In addition, the conference involved Argentine rugby personalities, presidents of the provincial unions and leaders of the UAR. The naming of the venues for the 2012 series of home matches in The Rugby Championship and June´s home series of two matches vs France and one vs Italy has been delayed. It is, however, expected that La Plata will host the matches vs South Africa and New Zealand with Buenos Aires hosting one match vs France and Cordoba, Mendoza and Rosario likely to host the three remaining matches.
Luis Castillo (President of the UAR): "We are sincerely touched and moved by the confirmation of The Rugby Championship. Today is an historical day for Argentine rugby, and I want to thank all the present (people), and for (everyone) joining us on the path of this new tournament. I ask that they remain with us, as we always try to give the best, with the responsibility that deserves the fact that a tournament of such magnitude."
"The venues where the matches will be played yet to be confirmed. In this regard, we are in an evaluation process, which is not yet closed and try one of the meetings ahead. Let's hear what SANZAR proposed, according to logistics, which will analyze the games. "
"This tournament is very important because it gives us the possibility of six games per year in our country. It's good to have competition for the players because the public can see them more opportunities and also for us as leaders. "
Manuel Galindo (Chairman of the Subcommittee on High Performance): "In the evaluation, players will come from Europe, we will use the month of June to rest them, and use it as part of the preparation here in Argentina. It will broaden the base, because in the month of June we will play with players coming from Europe and also with players who play in Argentina. From January, we probably have 10 players recruited from the UAR, and these, along with integrating the PLAR will have a long season."
"We have always said that everything that we are doing is for the basic rugby continues to grow. Our strength is based rugby, what makes us different. All resources will be used to obtain professional rugby and much of the development of rugby."
Agustin Pichot (Representative of the UAR in the SANZAR): "This was a long journey, in which everyone was part of a team. The UAR, after 2007, proposed building a team outside the playing field and a clear objective, which was to be part of a major international tournament, the Argentine rugby deserved. Four years were very intense, much effort and do something we were not used, long-time plan and watch the rugby from a different perspective. I want to thank all members of the EXCO, which helped us all the time to learn, because there were hard times. Today we are part of the family of SANZAR, which is a pride for all Argentines. "
"As a player one felt it was unfair not to play against the best, and having to wait four years, if you played in a World Cup. The initiative that was born as a leader, you have to think about the players, and most important is to prove oneself the best. Surely it will be a tough challenge, but that's the way to improve. You always expect the leadership to work for the players, and now I think its being done. "
"Today we are living in a transition. The UAR has, over the past four years, fulfilled everything that it said it would, we probably made a mistake and for that Luis apologized, but there was always a plan of not wanting to pass us the train. "
"SANZAR and earlier the UAR has appealed the entry into the Tri Nations. In 2008, SANZAR began negotiations for a new contract starting in 2012, and Argentina was not a party. SANZAR Super Rugby also means that the UAR is not a party, and when asked to enter and we learned that it was negotiated through 2016. Thus, Argentina has no shares, but is divided between them and larger incomes, which are television. Argentina came in as a guest, but to vote in the EXCO when it comes to Rugby Championship. If there are new revenues, Argentina will be part of the new negotiations."
"Since four years ago we have been holding meetings with the presidents of the French and English clubs. Racing Metro´s President said he would consider hiring Argentine players in the future, while other clubs and the players have signed knowing the situation. (The likes of) Patricio Albacete, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Marcos Ayerza (have all signed long term deals to stay in Europe). What protects the Argentine rugby is Article 9 as SANZAR requires to play with the best players. It says that clubs must release themselves or other players during 12 rounds, to play international matches. The intention is not to force anyone to play for the country, nor break their contracts with their clubs, but in the transition from Europe to the South, consider their breaks and economic contracts. "
Mike Eagle (Chairman of SANZAR): "We as SANZAR are delighted to be here, in support of The Rugby Championship. We know it's been a long process and a very long way tfor Argentina, but its dream has come true. South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are anxious to receive them enthusiastically, and we welcome a true international competition."
"Congratulations to those who have participated in this process and whose hard work to achieve this result, and that all that is possible today. We believe that the UAR will bring benefits both on the field and off it. We are eager to welcome young players who play in the Southern Hemisphere and are available to all that is necessary. In addition, we hope to have an Argentine referee on the international stage. Congratulations and good luck in the coming years. "
"We would like to establish the process for young players to be incorporated as soon as possible. I would like to participate in all competitions, even Super Rugby. One of the main topics of discussion was to ensure that the Pumas would have their best players, and that no problems would arise whether they were to play in the Southern Hemisphere or not. We are dedicated to having all the necessities to have the best possible team."
Greg Peters (CEO of SANZAR): "It's exciting for us to have Argentina participate in The Rugby Championship, which in our view is the the best international competition in the world. Next season we will have four of the top seven teams in the World Rankings and have six of the seven nations who have won the World Cup. Given that Argentina is competing at this level it will mean big profits in the development of this game."
"Representatives of SANZAR have made a very important recommendation to the UAR of playing two games in Buenos Aires and another outside the city. Given the logistics and welfare of the players, we have used a number of different criteria. We also had meetings with the governments of Buenos Aires and other authorities, to reach a solution."
"Definitely, the inclusion of the Pumas in the Rugby Championship was an outstanding issue for a long time."
With Thanks: http://www.uar.com.ar/