Saturday, December 22, 2012

Argentina to play 12 Tests in 2013

Photo: UAR Credit Martín Sera Lima.
Argentina to return to the Millennium Stadium in November 2013?
The final details are far from being made official but it has all but been confirmed that, in addition to  playing in the second edition of The Rugby Championship, Argentina will host three tests in June 2013 and play three in Europe in November. The visiting nations in June have long been suggested as being England and Georgia and this is likely to be confirmed very shortly. England will be depleted due the the tour taking place at the same time as the British and Irish Lions three test tour of Australia. Argentina, however, will be far from full strength due to the agreement between the UAR and European clubs which means those involved in The Rugby Championship will not play in June. In 2012 it meant Argentina was without 24 players. Reports out of Georgia indicate that the Lelos will play up to three tests in South America with a potential tour featuring matches against Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Argentina is set to host Georgia on June 22 to complete its three test home series. It would be the third clash between the nations, the first in Argentina and the first outside of Rugby World Cup´s. 

Argentina´s November tour of Europe will be a three test tour. England is already confirmed as hosting Argentina in London on November 09 which is to be the second week of internationals that month. It has been said that Argentina will also be facing Italy and Wales with the Italians to host Argentina on November 02 and Los Pumas to play at the Millennium Stadium on November 16. This being the case then Argentina will play two years in a row in Wales. Given how evenly matches the sides are it is an ideal home match for Wales in terms of having a competitive match it will not, however, be as marketable as a match against Australia, New Zealand or South Africa. But Wales is likely to face South Africa in November and possibly also New Zealand in a fourth match. 

Argentina´s 2014 tour would certainly feature a match against Scotland since Los Pumas last played there in 2009. Scotland´s inability to defeat Tonga in Aberdeen last month could well see two Tier Two visiting teams rather than just one in November 2013. This being the case then a probable home series would see Scotland hosting Australia and Samoa at Murrayfield and hosting either Canada or the USA at Aberdeen. The team would depend on the outcome of the North American leg of Rugby World Cup 2015 Qualification which is likely to be played in July. Scotland will face Samoa at Rugby World Cup 2015 and is also likely to face Japan. Argentina, in contrast will face New Zealand and Tonga and therefore will not play against either in November tests in 2013 or 2014. 

Argentina´s participation in the 2013 CONSUR A competition is yet to be confirmed. What has been confirmed is that the tournament will take place in Montevideo with Brazil and Chile facing each other and the host nation, Uruguay in what doubles as the South American finals of qualification for Rugby World Cup 2015. The winner will face the runner-up of Canada v the USA with the winner advancing to England 2015 to face Samoa, Scotland, South Africa and Asia 1 (certain to be Japan). Whoever loses will have one final opportunity to qualify for England 2015 as the Play-Off Winner. The best team from the runners up of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe will qualify for Pool A and face the nightmare scenario of playing against Australia, England, Wales and Oceania 1 (certain to be Fiji). 

Argentina could compete in the South American Championship as it did in 2009 when Brazil, Chile and Uruguay were facing one-another in the continents final round of qualification matches for Rugby World Cup 2011. This being the case then Argentina would play fifteen tests in total with six being at home and nine away. Argentina´s six home tests will be spread around Argentina with the UAR already having confirmed that Mendoza, La Plata and Rosario will stage matches during The Rugby Championship. The same three cities hosted matches in the 2012 competition and did so against the same teams that will play there in 2013. Mar del Plata, Salta, Santa Fé and Tucumán have been sigled out by the UAR as the venues to host England and Georgia. 

Argentina International Fixtures 2013
June 08 Argentina v England, tba
June 15 Argentina v England tba
June 22 Argentina v Georgia, tba

August 17 South Africa v Argentina, Bloemfontein
August 24 Argentina v South Africa, Mendoza
September 07 New Zealand v Argentina, Hamilton
September 14 Australia v New Zealand, tba
September 28 Argentina v New Zealand, La Plata
October 05 Argentina v Australia, Rosario

November 02 Italy v Argentina, tba
November 09 England v Argentina, London
November 16 Wales v Argentina, Cardiff

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