Deans welcomes Argentine inclusion - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Deans welcomes Argentine inclusion

By Adrian Warren 16/09/2009 02:19:50 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has hailed Argentina's proposed inclusion in an expanded Tri-Nations tournament as "fantastic".

The Pumas, who finished third in the last Rugby World Cup, were given a conditional invitation by SANZAR last Monday to be part of a four-nations tournament from 2012 onward.

Argentina needs to ensure the availability of their best players and finalise a financial model and earn the approval of broadcasters to confirm their place in the southern hemisphere tournament.

Deans welcomed the potential inclusion of Argentina in the competition prior to heading out to Wellington on Wednesday for Australia's final match of the 2009 Tri-Nations against New Zealand on Saturday.

"It's fantastic and I don't see any reason why it can't be achieved," Deans told AAP about Argentina's proposed participation.

"Obviously a lot of the top Argentinian players are based in the United Kingdom, but I see no reason why the International Rugby Board shouldn't endorse the (expanded) competition.

"If they do that and insist on those players being released from club obligations - particularly the timing of the competition, it's early in the (European) season - it's nothing that the UK clubs don't experience with their competitions.

"If they endorse it, then it's a really exciting addition to SANZAR rugby."

Australian Rugby Union boss John O'Neill earlier this week offered qualified support for Argentina's inclusion.

"We need to ensure the same integrity and quality of competition is guaranteed with a move to a Four-Nations championship and Argentina understands that," he said.

The expanded tournament would begin in mid-August and the format would see the four teams playing home and away in a competition consisting of 12 matches.

All Blacks assistant coach Wayne Smith also welcomed Argentina's participation in the competition.

"It'll freshen the competition, it will add new faces," Smith said.

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