Millar backs Pumas for Tri-Nations

IRB chairman Dr Syd Millar has added his voice to those who believe Argentina should be admitted to the Vodacom Tri-Nations.

The South Americans have improved substantially since their introduction into Test rugby but still don’t participate in a top-flight international tournament.

“Initially, I would see Argentina becoming part of the southern hemisphere competition,” Millar told BBC Sport.

“The tournament needs refreshing and that [their inclusion] would do an enormous amount.”

Millar added that the IRB were constantly looking at how they could fit the Pumas into an international tournament and that at this stage the Tri-Nations seems like the most viable option.

Whether this will go down well with the SANZAR countries is debatable as an already grueling international season could be further elongated should the Pumas enter the fold.

In addition to this there are rumours that New Zealand and Australia are looking to ditch South Africa in favour of a series of Test matches between themselves.

Chis Moller, CEO of the New Zealand Rugby Union has already stated that he thinks the move would be impractical.

“The fact most of Argentina’s players play in France, and that the French championship is still in full swing while the Tri-Nations is on, makes their entry totally impractical,” he said.

Millar though was confident that this obstacle could be overcome and was optimistic about their inclusion in the future.

“We have tried to do it before. I think the attitude amongst the southern hemisphere countries has changed.
“I think they will be considering Argentina. Next time they do the television deal they will consider very carefully bringing these people in.”

Meanwhile Argentina have announced that Felipe Contepomi will start at flyhalf for their Test against the England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Leinster player usually operates at inside centre but coach Marcelo Loffreda was confident he would be a success in the No 12 shirt.

“We know Felipe is playing well for Leinster. We wanted to see him with the team as No 10,” Loffreda told BBC Sport.

“It is always a good time for us to play England, they are one of the best teams in the world,” Loffreda said, rejecting the suggestion that England would be vulnerable considering they have lost their last six Tests.

“We know they are not having a good sequence of games but they are always strong, they have tradition, they are a proud team, we know it will be a very big challenge. We think Saturday’s game is going to be very hard for us.”