Argentina closer to Tri-Nations entry - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Argentina closer to Tri-Nations entry

12/11/2008 01:00:45 PM Comments (0)

Argentina's admission to an expanded Tri-Nations rugby competition alongside Australia, New Zealand and South Africa appears a step nearer.

International Rugby Board (IRB) representatives on Wednesday agreed to "conclude discussions about the integration of Argentina into the Tri-Nations as a matter of urgency".

Representatives of 10 tier one nations, met in London, after which IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said the meeting called for the IRB to work on Argentina's "full integration into the Tri-Nations".

Officials have spoken in recent years about revamping the Tri-Nations, which was launched in 1996 at the advent of professionalism in the sport, but nothing concrete has ever emerged from their discussions.

Argentina have championed their inclusion, saying it would go some way to reducing the large number of players who leave that country to play professionally in France.

Lapasset said in a statement that the meeting also agreed that a return to traditional tours should be investigated as a potential way forward for the June Test match window.

"Building on the outcomes of the global season forum at Woking last year, the group asked the IRB to work on three specific opportunities in detail: tours to the South (Southern Hemisphere) in the June window; the creation of a tournament or a series of matches in a (British and Irish) Lions year for unions not involved in the Lions tour, and Argentina's full integration into the Tri-Nations."

He said the issue of the playing calendar was incredibly complex.

"It includes the requirements of the clubs, provinces and national unions, the issue of separate playing seasons in two hemispheres, player welfare requirements, geographical and time zone considerations.

"Finding solutions that allow for growth, a balanced schedule and the promotion of meaningful matches has been a challenge."

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