August 1, 2014
Three interesting rugby tests
This month’s rugby tests against Ireland (two) and Scotland, to be played on June 7, 14 and 20, are likely to have mixed results and some debuts in the Argentina and Scotland squads for a variety of reasons. Thus Argentina should do well against the Scots, always below them in the rankings, but are likely have a tougher than ever time against the Irish.
For a start, Ireland will come with its top team, according to reports, while Scotland will also be touring in North America at the same time and will have two squads picked from a list of 43 players. As for Argentina, coach Daniel Hourcade says he will pick no players with European clubs and also no players likely to be needed for the Rugby Championship starting in August. This is because players must have a holiday by law and therefore would not be able to play now and in August. In any case, by 2016, when an Argentine team will play in Super Rugby, team selection will only be made from home-based players which will later be applied to Argentina’s top team, the Pumas.
In view of this, many Argentine players who did not renew their contracts in Europe by their own decision or because their clubs did not want them anymore, have returned to play for their original local clubs this season — Martín Landajo, Tomás Cubelli, Manuel Montero, Benjamín Madero, Francisco Chaparro, Horacio Agulla, Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga among others. At the same time however, other internationals have signed or resigned contracts in Europe because they earn much more money there than the supposed 20,000 pesos a month they would get when put under contract by the Argentine Rugby Union (UAR).
So there are still many top Argentine players plying their trade in Europe and many more will go which means that under the UAR’s present position Argentina may not have a very strong team for next year’s World Cup. On the hand, the players who returned to playing the Buenos Aires Championship were only allowed by their clubs to play providing they did not sign contracts with the UAR. We asked some time ago if some of them were picked for the Pumas again, will they be playing for nothing while some of their teammates will be paid. It would be a similar situation which local clubs did not want — amateurs playing in the same team with professionals. As mentioned, all this am-pro problem does not exist in provincial leagues which is one reason for the good show put up in recent national championships both by provincial selections and clubs.