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Can Argentina break into the world’s ‘top three’?

By on June 23, 2021

first_img Times, they may be a changing. The traditional triumvirate of power in the Southern Hemisphere – New Zealand, Australia and South Africa – is no longer the all-powerful force it once was. New Zealand are still way out in front, but the signs are that both the Springboks and Wallabies may be in perilous decline.In recent times, both countries have bought into the folly of Super rugby expansion. Australia added a fourth team to their original three in 2006 (Western Force) and increased that to five in 2011 with the establishment of the Melbourne Rebels. The situation in South Africa is similar, with the Cheetahs and now the Kings added to the Super rugby roster.At the same time, the outflow of home-grown provincial and Test-quality players to European clubs has quickened, especially since the 2011 World Cup. Local problems beset the ARU and SARU, with Australia under constant pressure from Aussie Rules and Rugby League to keep its share of the sporting market, and the political scenario in South Africa dictating the need for ‘quotas’. 50% of players selected to the Springboks must be coloured by the time of 2019 World Cup, with 60% of those to be black African.The leakage of established players to Europe and Japan, and the dilution of the talent remaining have weakened Australian and South African rugby to the point where the door is ajar for someone else to stake their claim on the international scene.England has already jammed its foot in that door with Eddie Jones winning his first nine Tests in charge and sweeping the Wallabies in the June series, away from home.The other country which may fill the power vacuum, and become a regular top three rugby nation, is Argentina. The Pumas reached the semi-finals of the 2015 World Cup after despatching Ireland in one of the games of the tournament, and they have started the Rugby Championship by sharing the home-and away series against South Africa one match apiece, with last Saturday’s highlights on Sky Sports (below). If it had been a boxing contest over the two matches, the Pumas would have won it on points convincingly.SAS GEO ERRORThis video is not authorized in your locationRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO read more

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