The recent World Rugby hosted work shop welcomed potential bidders from Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, South Africa and the USA. The five were presented to media as being the possible host nations for Rugby World Cup 2023 with Argentina therefore not involved in the bidding process.
The decision to not bid came despite Argentina's World Rugby representative Agustín Pichot having championed the option. It was, nonetheless, deemed to be a matter of timing and circumstances with Argentina's turn to host the Rugby World Cup having been postponed in favor of improving the house of Argentine rugby and supporting a friend.
Argentina's decision against bidding has come about due to two reasons. The first of which is to successfully oversee the continued move to be fully professional while the second is due to Argentina looking to instead back South Africa's bid.
Argentina's first Super Rugby franchise continues to build an the country's place in the Rugby Championship is assured in the future. The UAR became a permanent member of SANZAR in 2014 and plans are well underway for future opportunities to have a second Super Rugby team included, possibly in 2019, as well as the Americas Six Nations which is being planned to begin next February.
In undergoing such tasks, in addition to others, the UAR is focusing on domestic improvements rather than seeking to host the global event which is the Rugby World Cup in 2023. Strongly related to this is the desire to say thank you to Argentina's biggest ally in getting out of the dark age which prevented Argentine growth between Rugby World Cups 1999 and 2011.
Argentina's best friends were France and South Africa, both of whom sought to see Argentina playing in an annual competition with the later being heavily involved in the eventual addition of the country to both the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby.
Behind closed doors the belief is very much that without South African support having Argentina become a part of SANZAR could not have eventuated. SANZAR is now looking to strengthen ties with not only Argentina but also Australia set to not bid to host the World Cup in 2023. Indeed rather than hosting Australia is to back South Africa to host for the first time since 1995.
As an enthusiast who has been writing about the idea of bringing the World Cup to Argentina it is disappointing to see the dream unfulfilled. It nonetheless comes at a time in which Argentine rugby has reached a significantly superior standing today than when I began this blog in June 2010.
My work, however, is far more over. While Argentina 2023 will not be a reality the country remains an extremely strong option with the question merely being when it will be Argentina's turn to host the global event. My efforts now turn to Americas Rugby News. The recently launched site brings combines the minds of Bryan Ray and Ted Hardy of whom I am grateful to be working with.