The Argentina Solution

It takes something of great importance to the game of Rugby Union to rouse the Rolling Maul from its off-season slumber.

The plight of Argentinian Rugby has been getting a lot of press lately (click here for a good summary) with the debate centering around whether Argentina are best suited to playing in the Tri-Nations (which would make it the Four Nations) or the Six Nations (which was once the Four Nations).

A lot has been mentioned of the fact that there are 400 Argentinians playing in Europe including all bar one of their World Cup squad, and that Argentina does not have, nor could it support, a professional competition at home. This is being used as the basis for arguing that they are best suited to playing in Europe (the Six Nations - if you consider Wales and Scotland to be nations of course - the last time the Rolling Maul checked they didn't have seats at the UN).

Meanwhile in the Southern Hemisphere, the Tri-Nations, a vastly superior international competition by its own admission that has produced all bar one World Champion, is getting a little stale, proving that you can have too much of a good thing. Expansion seems to be the most obvious solution - but expansion to where? Japan, the Pacific Islands and of course Argentina have all been touted as possibilities but the logistics of such an exercise (especially to South America) and in the case of Argentinians playing in Europe, player availability, are seen as impediments.

The Rolling Maul has the solution (as always).

The debate about crap Australian Super 14 teams whithered about the same time Australians stopped watching the Rugby World Cup and started waiting for the cricket season to start. But as a reminder, importing overseas players was seen as a (possibly only short term) solution, especially to boosting forward stocks in Queensland, a state that has stopped producing short fat blokes with no necks.

The Wallabies faced the same problem in the 1990s. They turned to Argentina for help, and Patricio Noriega and Topo Rodriguez held up their end of the bargain and the scrum with great success until locals with suitable talent (McKenzie, Kearns, Daly especially) could be found.

So what's good enough for the Wallabies should be good enough for the Waratahs, Reds, Brumbies and Force. Already New Zealand Super 14 teams include multiple foreign players (especially Samoans and Fijians). So if Argentinians looking for a buck were enticed to play downunder on this side of the planet (not necessarily only in Australia) and still be able to qualify for the Pumas then they'd be more inclined and able to play in the Tri (or Four) Nations while improving their standards and filling holes in (sorry, enhancing) Super 14 lineups.

Thank you for your attention. You may return to the cricket.


Anonymous said…
Shame on you, RM for even admitting to being in an off-season slumber!! Keep the faith, bugger the cricket!!

Think of it as sleeping off a hangover.