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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 21:03 GMT
Pumas push for Six Nations berth
Agustin Pichot
Agustin Pichot captained Argentina to third place at the World Cup
Argentina will step up their bid to join the Six Nations by presenting their case for inclusion to the International Rugby Board.

A place in the Tri-Nations is another option but almost the entire national squad play their rugby in Europe.

The Union Argentina de Rugby are to present their findings to an IRB forum at the end of November.

Minister for sport Hugo Porta said: "The current players consider it more viable to play in the Six Nations."

The Union Argentina de Rugby, with help from the IRB, have been conducting a strategic review and will present their findings at the end of November.

Porta, a former Pumas fly-half, will make the presentation when the IRB gathers in London for a forum to discuss ways of implementing an integrated global season.


"We will present our strategic plan to the IRB, which we have been working on at the UAR for a long time with the purpose of getting Argentina included in future international competitions," Porta added.

The IRB are determined to find a home for Argentina, who beat France twice, Ireland and Scotland en route to their best ever World Cup finish of third.

But any official application would have to go through either the Six Nations committee or SANZAR, the Tri-Nations governing body.

There are commercial and logistical complications that would have to be considered, such as existing television and commercial deals.

If the IRB can find a solution to the integrated season it would make Argentina's move to the Tri-Nations more feasible on a logistic front, given they would not miss any European club rugby.

But Argentina appear set on joining an expanded Seven Nations, possibly basing themselves in Spain or Belgium.

Argentina celebrate Ignacio Corleto's first-half try in the opening game against France
Argentina beat hosts France twice at this year's World Cup

"In my view, it's better for Argentina to be in the Six Nations," said Marcelo Loffreda, who is now in charge at Leicester after eight successful years as Pumas coach.

"All the overseas players are playing in the northern hemisphere so it's impossible to make a competitive team in the Tri-Nations."

Pumas centre Felipe Contepomi feels the long-term future lies in the Tri-Nations, otherwise they risk being too reliant on European clubs to keep signing up Argentinean talent.

He believes a move to the Tri-Nations would force the amateur UAR to build a professional structure and a professional domestic tournament.

But Loffreda explained: "It's not going to be possible for Argentina to have a professional league. We don't have the sponsors or the money.

"The only way Argentina can stay this competitive is to get the best players having professional preparation and they have to go overseas for that."

On top of that, Argentina are proud of their status as an amateur union and while the UAR is set to be restructured, there are no plans to turn professional.

"It's important to continue amateur club rugby because it carried Los Pumas to their success," said UAR secretary Raul Sanz.

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