Friday, May 1, 2015

Americas 6 Nations: Tournament Vital for the Future Believes Pichot

In a radio interview with Uruguay's Hablemos de Rugby Agustín Pichot explained the future Americas Six Nations competition and outlined Argentina's interests in helping rugby expand to have a stronger base of teams. The former Pumas captain, current Argentine representative on the World Rugby Council and president of the Pan American Rugby Association outlined the work being done to set-up a new Americas-wide competition. Speaking with optimism the retired scrumhalf argued that a stable base exists to work upon to get the project up and running in 2016. Negotiations with World Rugby are to continue next week with Pichot flying to Europe to discuss his plans with the sport's governing body. 

Pichot believes that the Six Nations concept is not only appropriate at this point in time but also necessary. Without efforts being made the hierarchy in which Argentina has a superior test side than the ''others will remain unchanged.'' The former scrumhalf believes in helping ones neighbors with the time being right to act on Uruguay's qualification for the World Cup and Pichot argues that Argentina has an obligation to take action. 

Such a strong perspective is what countries comparable and even superior, in rugby terms, to Uruguay have been striving for. Calls for Fiji, Samoa and Tonga to be integrated into regular international competition with Australia and New Zealand have not been attended to, South Africa continues to never have played a test in Namibia and Georgia and Romania have no home matches against Six Nations opposition. 

The meeting with union officials in Miami saw Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Uruguay and the USA establishing a format which was agreed upon and Pichot is to now meet with World Rugby officials next week to advance formalities. The importance of the meetings cannot be understated with Pichot arguing that ''nobody is going to worry about the Americas like us.'' 

A fundamental change that Pichot is looking to implement is for all of the Americas to obtain access to their players for international duty when required. Last November the USA was unable to field Aviva Premiership players against Fiji, Romania or Tonga due to having scheduled a test match against New Zealand at a time outside of the international window in which Article 9 demands the release of all players if selected. 

Argentina's frustrations in home internationals in the June windows have meant no Argentine side since 2010 has been at full strength that month. Article 9 has therefore failed to perform it's duty and Argentina's move to contracting players to the UAR will see an end to depleted teams with immediate effect. Talks with World Rugby are to now focus on ensuring all teams will be able to field their foreign based players. Knowing that a refusal will prevent the Pan-American Six Nations from being born World Rugby is to now oversee an important history making decision.

The leadership and inclusion demonstrated by Argentina underlines the importance of the country to rugby in the Americas and worldwide. With Pichot wanting his country to have the opportunity of hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023 the ongoing developments are certain to further the appeal of South America hosting for the first time. 

1 comment:

  1. Now I get what Pichot wants: he's asking European clubs to release all they players for the Panamerican rugby championship! The proposal is so radical that I had never thought about it. Good luck for him.