Los Pumas are worthy opponents for the world’s best
This has been a historic year for SANZAR. The Tri Nations era, which stretches back to the birth of professionalism in rugby union, is over and the Rugby Championship has been born.
The entry of Argentina has finally created a true Southern Hemisphere tournament, an equivalent to the Six Nations in the Northern Hemisphere.
Argentina don’t yet have the greatest record against rugby union’s three traditional powerhouses, but they have beaten Australia four times, most recently in 1997. They have even beaten the Wallabies in Queensland, by 18-3 at Ballymore Stadium in 1983.
Australia last played the Pumas in the opening game of the 2003 Rugby World Cup, resulting in a 24-8 victory for the Wallabies.
Australia is the only team from the original Tri-Nations tournament to have been beaten by Argentina, but the Pumas have pushed New Zealand and South Africa on occasion.
Argentina placed a very credible third in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, and they reached the quarter finals in 2011 before losing to the eventual champions, New Zealand, 33-10.
In Argentina’s Rugby Championship debut, the Pumas have held South Africa to a draw and pushed New Zealand on home turf. Those two fixtures, along with their credible World Cup performances, show that they deserve to play the best in the world on an annual basis.
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