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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 10:23 GMT
Pumas 'deserve Tri-Nations place'
FIVE LIVE RUGBY SPECIAL
The Pumas drew with the British and Irish Lions in 2005
1945 GMT on 9 November
Interviews with Syd Millar, Matt Dawson and Richard Hill
International rugby chief Dr Syd Millar has called for Argentina to be admitted to the Tri-Nations.

The Pumas, who take on England this Saturday, have beaten France in their last four meetings but are not part of a top-flight international tournament.

"Initially, I would see Argentina becoming part of the southern hemisphere competition," Millar told BBC Five Live Sport.

"The tournament will need refreshing and that would do an enormous amount."

Millar, the chairman of the International Rugby Board, added: "We are constantly looking at how we can fit them (Argentina) in and I think the fit has to be in the southern hemisphere at this point in time.

"We have tried to do it before. I think the attitude amongst the southern hemisphere countries has changed.

"I think they will be considering Argentina. Next time they do the television deal they will consider very carefully bringing these people in."

But Chris Moller, chief executive officer of the New Zealand rugby union, has said he does not think the plan is practical.

The fact most of Argentina's players play in France, and that the French championship is still in full swing while the Tri-Nations is on, makes their entry totally impractical according to Moller.

Millar also told Five Live Sport he will oppose any move to depower the scrummage.

The IRB has been investigating the safety of the scrum and will discuss possible changes at its council meeting on 16 November.

Dr Syd Millar
One of the aspects we need to address is the coaching of scrummaging, which has been neglected

Dr Syd Millar

"The scrum is an integral part of rugby - we don't want to change that," Millar said.

"We certainly don't want to get to the rugby league non-competitive scrum. I don't like that type of scrum at all."

Leicester prop Matt Hampson, 20, was paralysed while scrummaging with the England Under-21s last year.

That injury accelerated investigations into scrum safety by the IRB and Rugby Football Union.

These have included looking into the possibility that the scrum be "depowered" - meaning both sets of forwards would stop pushing - which would effectively end this set piece as a contest.

Yet Millar, who won 37 caps for Ireland as a prop, is insistent this will not happen, although the practice of front rows charging at each other to form a scrum is likely to be outlawed.

"The charge will have to go and we will have something like touch, pause, engage, so there's no hard physical engagement at that time," he said.

"That doesn't need a change in law and I think the November council meeting will OK that."

Millar thinks coaching is also an important way of improving safety.

"What we want to do is ensure is that we continue with the scrum and make it as safe as possible," he said.

"One of the aspects we need to address is the coaching of scrummaging, which has been neglected.

"Technique has to be addressed. If the technique is right, there's less chance of injury.

"The scrum now is not bad at all. If the hit was removed and more emphasis given to technique then I think we can make it even safer.

"The scrum has been changed and is much, much safer than when I played. But rugby is a physical contact game and the scrum is a physical part of it."



SEE ALSO
Cusworth backs Pumas' ambitions
08 Nov 06 |  Rugby Union
Rugby chief Millar awarded a CBE
10 Jun 05 |  Rugby Union


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