Springboks to meet Pumas

2011-11-08 07:13

Cape Town - The Springboks will kick-off against the Pumas when the all-new “The Castle Rugby Championship” launches in 2012 – the exciting and ground-breaking replacement for the Tri-Nations series, SANZAR announced on Tuesday.

An agreement confirming Argentina’s participation was signed in Auckland recently by the SANZAR Joint Venture partners after several months of negotiations with the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) and the International Rugby Board (IRB).

The new-look tournament has been given a new name and a new fixture line-up with two Tests on each match day. Each participant plays home and away matches against each of the other three participants.

The Boks open their inaugural Castle Rugby Championship campaign against the Pumas in South Africa on August 18 before taking part in the first Castle Rugby Championship match on the South American continent a week later. The match venues will be announced in due course.

“The invitation to Argentina to join the Championship is a defining moment for Southern Hemisphere rugby and significant for world rugby,” said SANZAR CEO, Greg Peters.

“The regular participation of Argentina at a higher level is long overdue and we are excited about their inclusion in The Rugby Championship. Playing in the Championship will have significant benefits for Argentinian rugby as a whole and will bring new energy to the jewel in the crown of SANZAR.

“The Pumas, as they showed at the recent Rugby World Cup, play an exciting and different brand of rugby to the other three teams, which will definitely add a new dimension,” Peters said.

The new name of The Castle Rugby Championship reflects its claim to be the ultimate contest, featuring teams that are currently ranked first, second, fourth and seventh in the world.

“The Rugby Championship is an annual contest between the ‘best-of-the-best’ in world rugby - nations who have won six of the seven Rugby World Cups,” said Peters.

South African Rugby Union (SARU) CEO, Jurie Roux said: “This is a significant moment in the history of Southern Hemisphere rugby and marks the launching pad to a dramatically changed landscape.

“The inclusion of South Africa’s old friends from Argentina is a great day for rugby and recognises the rich history and passion for the sport in the rugby community in that country.

“It will add a new flavour and dimension to SANZAR rugby and offers the prospect of promoting rugby in other South American nations.

“It also ensures a more logical and balanced Championship with fixtures and travel evened out across the region.”

The Springboks travel east at the beginning of September as they undertake back-to-back matches against Australia and New Zealand before concluding The Castle Rugby Championship with home matches against the Wallabies (September 29) and All Blacks (October 6).

The President of the UAR, Luis Castillo, described his country’s inclusion as an historic moment for rugby in Argentina: “The Argentine Rugby Union and Argentinean rugby community is proud to be part of this great tournament,” he said. “We will work to maintain high standards in our rugby, with our ultimate goal being to keep generating resources for the development of rugby at the clubs.”

 The CEO of the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU), Steve Tew said: “The 2011 Rugby World Cup demonstrated exactly how exciting matches between our four countries can be.

“Argentina fully deserves to be part of the best annual rugby competition in the world and their presence in the Championship – as well as the inclusion of Sevens rugby in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro – help the global expansion of the game.“

Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Managing Director and CEO, John O’Neill said: "We have come a long way since the professional era dawned with a Super 12 competition and a two-round Tri-Nations series between the Wallabies, All Blacks and Springboks.

"Our international footprint has been significantly increased at both Super Rugby and Test level and the launching of The Rugby Championship next year will be the latest exciting chapter in the ongoing evolution of SANZAR."

Former Pumas scrumhalf, Agustin Pichot, the UAR’s SANZAR Representative who has led its negotiations with SANZAR, said Argentinean rugby as a whole should be proud of this achievement.

“After many years of history and the hard work of many generations of players on and off the pitch, Argentinean rugby will be part of the toughest and most prestigious tournament in the Southern Hemisphere,” Pichot said.

SANZAR has confirmed the draw for the inaugural edition of The Rugby Championship in 2012, which sees each side facing the other twice – home and away – for a total of 12 matches.

The 2012 Championship will kick-off on 18 August 2012 and conclude on 6 October 2012.

“Adding another country will have an impact on the travel schedules,” Peters said.

“To balance the additional travel requirements, the fixtures have been scheduled in two-week blocks with week-long travel byes in-between. This will ensure there is adequate recovery time for the teams,” he said.

The Rugby Championship fixtures:

 18 August 2012:                Australia vs New Zealand

                                                South Africa vs Argentina


25 August 2012:                New Zealand vs Australia

                                                Argentina vs South Africa


1 September 2012:          Travel Bye



8 September 2012:          Australia vs South Africa

                                                New Zealand vs Argentina


15 September 2012:        Australia vs Argentina

                                                New Zealand vs South Africa


22 September 2012:        Travel Bye


29 September 2012:        South Africa vs Australia

                                                Argentina vs New Zealand


6 October 2012:                South Africa vs New Zealand

                                                Argentina vs Australia


  • Lionel - 2011-11-08 07:38

    What out for Argentinia at the next WC,there inclusion in the series as from next year will do wonders for them!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Walter - 2011-11-08 07:50

      Great news for rugby fans and for South American supporters in particular. May Argentina rugby grow from strength to strength and let's hope that Paraguay, Uruguay and other countries follow suit.

      roboman1 - 2011-11-08 10:55

      Well said Lionel, good for rugby all round. Also, the Currie Cup is far from gone. Do you know that there were more spectators at the Currie Cup final 2011 than at the World Cup final 2011? No the Currie Cup is healthy. Long live Josh Strauss and the mighty Lions rugby team. (And may Bryce Lawrence rot in hell!)

  • Chris - 2011-11-08 07:51

    No offence to Argentina, but I don't get particularly excited when the Boks play against them. They're nowhere near the same league as the other 3 teams in the competition.

      Inhlanzi - 2011-11-08 07:59

      If Argentina can get themself a world class coach like PDivvy next year, they might just surprise a few teams

      Lionel - 2011-11-08 08:00

      They might not be in the same league but sure as hell they are gonna give teams a good run for there money!!!!!!!!!!!!

      abri.coetzer - 2011-11-08 08:22

      Where do you think SA would be if the only real test is RWC every four years. This will grow ARG rugby as young guns as rugby will be on the map more often.

      Deon - 2011-11-08 08:25

      I disagree, Argentinia has beaten France twice in 2007 World Cup and we know how close France came to NZ in the final.

      roboman1 - 2011-11-08 10:51

      @Inhlanzi bwahahahahahahahahaha, great joke. wow and who says people with funny names do not have a good sense of humour hey? well done

  • Dhirshan - 2011-11-08 07:57

    now lets add in a 16th super team from argentina. exciting times indeed! boks will do well in 2012, new era, think 2004 . . .

  • Paul - 2011-11-08 08:00

    Now all of a sudden there is a "travel bye" after every set of games, but when the SA boys were under the pump with ridiculous travel schedules it was just too bad, so sad...

      Brandon - 2011-11-08 11:37

      @Paul I totally agree but we have only ourselves to blame for this. We have a bunch of toothless clowns (SARU) out to make money for themselves and everyone else including the players must bite the bullet. They lack the will to stand up for the South African Rugby Nation

  • spiderkzn - 2011-11-08 08:06

    I'm so exciting!!!! I know Argentina will improving and doing well in future! :)

  • Ricky - 2011-11-08 08:13

    This is going to be great for Argentina rugby and world rugby alike !! I wonder though what SANZAR will call themselves now ?? ARSANZAR perhaps ?

      Wim - 2011-11-08 09:12

      SANZARA - SA, NZ, ARgentina, Australia

      H3nka - 2011-11-08 11:35


  • schalk.niekerk - 2011-11-08 08:31

    Stupid name for a competition. The Rugby Championship sounds very general and could refer to basically any rugby championship on earth. Why not call it The Southern Nations Tournament?

  • Hennie - 2011-11-08 09:11

    The only reservation I have is the travelling. I still think the only real solution is to host the whole tournament in one country. Using a different host nation every year. That way you cut out the travelling issues. They can still schedule two matches per weekend. Sure there would be home ground advantage for the host nation, but the world cup has shown that, that is a double edged sword, seeing that the home nation doesn't win the world cup that often. Then they can expand the tournament to include fiji and somoa.

      Simon - 2011-11-08 11:27

      Fiji and Samoa already play in Black colours

  • Nathi - 2011-11-08 10:07

    Can't wait.

  • H3nka - 2011-11-08 11:38

    ASANZAR might be coming!

  • Kurt - 2011-11-08 13:14

    Maby call it the Southern 4 championship or something like that... but i think the winner of this tournament should play the winner of the 6 nations... that would be awesome!!

  • Marcelo - 2011-11-08 13:21

    Argentina has always been ignored by the Anglo Saxon establishment entrenched in the IRB decision making body for many years. The Anglos Saxons (English speaking nations) representing South Africa, Australia ,New Zealand, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, which kept on vomiting pathetic excuses such as travelling issues, but the fact of the matter was that they were quite wary of the Pumas' potential in World Rugby with Los Pumas having just 1% of resources such as moneys, training and equipment compared to let's say the Springboks' resources. And this weariness by the Anglo Saxon countries were with good foundation as the Pumas beat France twice in 2007 and with an angry Augustin Pichot who said afterwards : "We do exist" ,during a post-match interview after the opening game when Los Pumas beat France. I remember the reporter replying to Pichot: "of course you guys exist." I don't think anyone has realised how pissed off the Pumas were at the IRB for so long and especially during the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France. Such a disgrace perpetrated by the IRB for so many years.

      roboman1 - 2011-11-08 13:50

      Interesting and subjective view Marcello. South Africa always backed French and Argentinian rugby, ask Hugo Porta, that great Argentinian rugby fly half, and he will tell you that SA rugby has always being a great friend of their rugby. So please get your facts in order before you resort to some form of mal-aligned tribal/racist comment. Do we not have enough of this already?

      Marcelo - 2011-11-08 15:20

      @roboman1. Unfortunately I've got my facts straight. The actual truth is quite awkward and extremely embarrassing for some kind of people!

      Marcelo - 2011-11-08 15:42

      @roboman1. You just can't form an opinion on what Hugo Porta said. He's a diplomat and was Argentinian ambassador based in South Africa for some time. Hugo Porta and Jake White are great friends. Diplomats always keep on talking political correctness to look and sound good. Your're missing the whole point altogether. It's the whole political structure set up, devised by the English speaking countries which was running the IRB despite the fact that the Chairman of the IRB has been French since about 1993 or thereabouts.

  • Denése - 2011-11-08 21:07

    Exciting Times Ahead!

  • Charlie - 2011-11-09 18:47

    Marcelo, answer these questions and tell me why Argentina should have entered a major annual competition before now: Is Argentinian Rugby still Amateur? Do the UAR have complete control over when their players play international rugby? How long does it take to fly from Argentina to NZ/Aus/SA/Europe? Did Argentina reach a world cup semi final before 2007 and thus really show up on the world stage? The answers to these questions may seem like ‘vomit’ to you but unfortunately the world is not run purely on sentiment. Facts are quite important too. Argentina have earned their place on the world stage. I for one am very pleased to see this. But please don’t moan about injustice when Argentina have only won 38% of their games against the other nine major nations since professionalism. If it was nearer 50% you could have reason to complain. However, nothing gives you the right to be xenophobic. Calling any of those countries Anglo-Saxon is like calling Argentina, Castilian – it’s over archaic, simplistic, inaccurate and bigoted.

  • Marcelo - 2011-11-09 22:49

    Charlie. Please read my comments again. Those are the actual facts. Argentinian Rugby development has been hampered by the Anglo Saxon establishment for years. As I've said, the actual truth is quite awkward and extremely embarrassing for some kind of people to digest.!!!!

      Marcelo - 2011-11-09 22:54

      The answer to your questions are already explained in my comments!!. Please read them again. I'm not typing in Spanish here. My comments are in English!!

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