Thursday, October 17, 2013

Poll Results - Buenos Aires and Córdoba favored as bases for Argentine Super Rugby teams.

This weeks pool asked readers to select one or more options from a list of the five largest Argentine cities to determine which ones would be the two best locations for Argentine Super Rugby teams. The final result went to script with 81% of votes opting for Buenos Aires and the next best being Córdoba which gained 36% approval overall. 

The two cities are located in vastly different parts of Argentina. Buenos Aires is in the east while Córdoba is less easily defined with it being in the central Argentina and does not belong to either the east or the west. It is located in the northern half of the country but not far enough north to be regarded as a northern city. The other cities in consideration all also host Pumas tests and have rugby tradition but they are arguably not in as appropriate locations. 

Córdoba is located 700Km north-west of the captial and largest city Buenos Aires and 400Km west of the third largest city, Rosario. It is central to other cities with Mendoza being 465Km to the west and Tucumán, 410Km from San Juan and 520Km south of Tucumán. In addition to its location being suited for a Super rugby team it also has a population of 1.3 million and matches could be shared or moved from time to time. Tucumán, in particular, would be suited to hosted a Super Rugby match in a similar way to that of the Crusaders playing in Nelson or the Hurricanes in New Plymouth. 

Córdoba was, in reality, up against all others in the pool to be the second base after Buenos Aires. Of the others Mendoza and Rosario both gained 10% approval while Tucumán gained 28%. The poll results therefore indicate that the best thing for the UAR would be to have the Buenos Aires based side be a composite team including the Litoral region of which Rosario is the largest city. The Buenos Aires side ought to be called Los Aguilas (Eagles) due to the use of the name for composite Buenos Aires teams while the team based in  Córdoba should make use of the name Los Pampas XV. 

Overtime there is reason to believe that the model could expand just like it has done so in both Australia and South Africa. Australia began with three sides and today has five while South Africa started with four and is set to have six in 2016. Argentina could start with two and look to expand to introduce a third overtime, potentially in Mendoza, Rosario or Tucumán. Like when the Western Force came into being as the fourth Australian Super Rugby franchise it occured after a formal bid was made to determine the location of the new side. The UAR could do the same thing and, indeed, ought to to determine if, in fact, Córdoba is the best option to join Buenos Aires as being home to a Super Rugby team in 2016. 

One Super Rugby team is not enough. Argentina has the history, player production and strength at the junior level to support two sides. In 2013 alone Argentine defeated Australia, Scotland, Samoa and South Africa at the under 20 level. Players from Australia and South Africa are those whom go on to play Super Rugby. Put differently with the appropriate infrastructure in place Argentina´s impressive results at the IRB Junior World Championship in 2012 and 2013 ought to be replicated in the Rugby Championship as despite there being a gap between Argentina on the one hand and Australia and South Africa on the other at senior level it would appear to not be the case at the junior level. 


  1. The poll show that the majority favored the most populus and financially secure regions in the country. But I believe that Tucuman should be the second base, if only because it is the only true rugby location in the country.

    It is the home of the bajadita and is an area known for it's dogged forward play.

    Tellingly, it is the only province where rugby is more popular than football!

    But have they got any dough?

  2. I agree Paul. Argentina must have at least two teams, not only for the reasons you outlined above but also because logistically there needs to be at least two. No South African teams are going to want to go all the way to Argentina for one game! It's not a very economical way to run a competition! And two is a nice number for a mini-tour.

    Also having two teams in Argentina allows for at least one local derby game that would help to promote the competition inside the country. Though there are big rivalries between certain teams in cross-border competitions, it's often still the local derbies that attract amongst the biggest interest. It would be good if Argentina also had it's own local rivalry or annual "El Classico" match within Super Rugby.

    Just one thing regarding the logistics that has me wondering. How does the away travel work for the argentinian teams? If there are eight teams (6 South African and 2 Argentinian) and they play H&A (14 rounds regular season), then each Argentinian team needs to play six games in the republic. Do they travel abroad once and do a long tour or do they travel twice and do say two mini tours of three games each?

    Either way, it looks like a VERY expensive travel bill for the Argentinian teams compared to the South african teams who would still have the majority of their away games in the same country. I have real doubts that such an expensive away schedule is economically sustainable. I guess the key detail is that Argentinian teams would have to have a greater travel subsidy (ie greater slice of the financial pie per team) than the South African teams to offset their greater travel costs. Whether the South African teams are going to be happy enough to give Argentinian teams a bigger slice of the pie (and remember they have to divvy their own country's % of the pie to an extra team as well if they get six) could be a key question. I just hope SANZAR can make the whole Super pie substantially bigger in negotiating with its broadcast partners when the time comes for the current deal to be renegotiated.

  3. Good comments. Come on, cordoba!