Argentine rugby in full reconstruction

During the Rugby Championship match between Argentina and Australia on October 2, 2021.

The year 2021 promises to be a vintage to forget for Argentine rugby. After the glory of a first victory against New Zealand in 2020, the current season is full of debacles – six defeats in as many games in the Rugby Championship 2021 – and controversy. The latest, the suspension of six internationals for having violated, in early October, the health rules of the competition which pits the major nations of the Southern Hemisphere (South Africa, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand).

While the Argentine federation’s project focused on the Jaguares bore fruit before the Covid-19 pandemic, national rugby must now face the forced exile of its players. In question, the sidelining of the club from Buenos Aires for economic and health reasons – the very demanding Super Rugby, which this year has become a competition welcoming only teams from New Zealand and Australia. The Argentine federation has since advised its players to offer their talents to the Top 14, the French rugby championship, and the English Premiership. It is therefore a little destabilized that Argentina presents itself against the XV of France on Saturday November 6 at the Stade de France, the first meeting of its European autumn tour.

A forced reverse

“It affects the game and the players. “ Former player and now manager of the Pumas, the national team, Francisco Rubio draws a first assessment of a complicated year. “We had to face many challenges, adapt to a new reality. We are always looking for solutions and we do our best to be competitive ”, exposes the Argentinian official.

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Eliminated from Super Rugby and therefore deprived of its best players, the Jaguares franchise, which represented Argentina in this championship since 2016, is now playing a much less serious South American league. “It’s a new project, certainly forced, where we can’t follow our players like we did with the Jaguares. We are going back in time, when this desire to develop local rugby was starting to give excellent results ”, laments Francisco Rubio.

The Jaguares had reached the 2019 Super Rugby final just four years after the squad was formed. The national team, formed exclusively of players from the franchise, was also growing, as evidenced by this historic victory against the All Blacks in 2020.

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