Tuesday, April 14, 2015

International Rugby: Americas Six Nations at very Advanced Stage

The possibility of the most powerful rugby countries of North and South American joining together to form a Pan American Rugby tournament is now a probability. Ongoing meetings between rugby authorities have been highly positive with a new Americas Six Nations competition firmly in the plans and for the new competition to begin in 2016. Heavily involved in the process is former Pumas captain and Argentine representative on the World Rugby Council, Agustín Pichot who is looking at Argentina playing in an annual competition together with Brazil, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the USA. Pichot is also wanting Argentina to host Rugby World Cup 2023. 

Argentina's representative on the World Rugby Council, Agustín Pichot has taken a proposal to World Rugby to establish an Americas Six Nations competition featuring South American nations Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay together with the two leading North American nations Canada and the USA. As the driving force behind the concept Argentina is further promoting itself as a global leader in a sport dominated, in representation terms, by the British Commonwealth. 

The former Argentine test scrumhalf is looking to integrate the Americas to give his country and others increased and improved competition. At present Argentina has a busy annual calendar in which, outside of Rugby World Cup years, Los Pumas play fourteen test matches. Starting with the CONSUR Cup internationals Argentina play Chile and Uruguay before hosting three tests against European opposition every June, playing six Rugby Championship internationals and completing the year in November with three tests in Europe. 

Argentina's neighbors and friends throughout the Americas do not enjoy such a schedule and Pichot is all too familiar with what it means to lack international competition. As captain of Los Pumas Pichot played 71 test matches from 1995-2007, appearing in four Rugby World Cups. By way of comparison All Black Dan Carter has played 102 internationals from 2003 to present.

Pichot and Carter faced each other one one occasion, a home international in Buenos Aires in 2006. It was a rare Tier One home international against a non-European opponent and the last time before joining the Rugby Championship in 2012 that Argentina hosted a non-European or South American opponent. Indeed while the All Blacks, Springboks and Wallabies played twelve or more tests per year from 2006-2012 Argentina played five or six. For this reason alone Carter has many more caps than Pichot. 

Now having seen Argentina join the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby Pichot is looking to give back by helping promote international competition in the Americas. Argentina 2023 supporter and Uruguayan rugby expert Ignacio Chans has confirmed that the new project of a Pan American competition could be made official by the end of the this month

The Unión de Rugby del Uruguay (URU) was informed of the idea recently and president Sebastián Piñeyrúa will be travelling to the USA for a meeting on April 23. The purpose of the regional meeting is to advance the discussion and make it as well defined as possible for it to begin in 2016. 

With the UAR now set to have full control of players due to Super Rugby contracts, and the USA having spoken publicly about playing international matches during the European Six Nations, Pichot is moving to get World Rugby approval to play an Americas Six Nations at the same time as Europe. In other words the same weekends which presently feature European internationals in February and March are being separated for the Americas Six Nations. 

The format for this competition is to replicate that of Europe both in the Six Nations and the European Nations Cup. That being five rounds of matches with teams alternating from one year to the next of playing two or three and home and three or two on the road. Presently World Rugby funds the Americas Rugby Championship, a competition featuring 'A' teams from Argentina, Canada, Uruguay and the USA.

It is anticipated that by taking place during the Northern Hemisphere international window of February / March players involved in European club competition will be free to represent their countries. Canada and the USA both have players spread across the Aviva Premiership, Guinness Pro 12 and Top 14 while both Chile and Uruguay have players in France. 

5 comments:

  1. good! so the Argentine team to play this new tournament is Argentina A (Jaguars)?

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    1. Pichot wants fully capped matches, therefore Pumas not Los Jaguares. With it taking place during the Super Rugby season there will need to be some juggling to free-up the coaches selected players for the tougher internationals against the RWC nations.

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  2. great Idea but I am afraid thatll itll just be a developmental tournament vs a legit test match tournament like the pnc is. if Argentina sends a "A" squad then no one will take it serious and be a larger ARC. hopping to see Argentina play in person someday in America, looking forward to seeing the details when it comes out.

    wonder who would be the main broadcast provider.

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  3. tweeted nigel m. asking if these will be full test matches. he replied, YES. asked when we will here information about the development of pro rugby from usa rugby, stated that they are working on it and will be stated down the road. since then I cant find hi reply , he must of deleted it

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    1. yes - fully capped internationals.

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