SANZAR chairman Mike Eagle would like to see Argentina play a bigger role in southern hemisphere rugby's controlling body and eventually have their own Super Rugby conference.
Eagle was speaking at the official Argentine launch function for the new Rugby Championship which will see Argentina join South Africa, New Zealand and Australia in an expanded version of the Tri-Nations tournament next year.
He explained that in order for Argentine rugby to grow stronger they will need to develop professional teams in an international competition which would keep the best players in the country and stimulate interest in rugby across the country.
He said: "The ultimate goal for Argentina should be really to have their own conference of Super Rugby down here playing in front of their own fans. That's why we've got a conference system and it's easy to add conferences.
"You'd actually have your own professional teams down here playing in your own conference as part of the SANZAR competition and then you'd be in charge of the destiny of your own players, you don't have to go and ask other clubs for their release and that would be a win-win for everybody," added Eagle.
As it stands Argentina will be participating in the Rugby Championship as invited guests but Eagle said that he would like to see them become part of SANZAR as soon as possible.
"I'd like to see Argentina become a part of SANZAR, not just an invited guest, and to go forward to have a professional conference running out of here," he commented.
A major obstacle for Argentine rugby has been the fact that the bulk of their top players play in Europe, and they only managed to gain entry into the Rugby Championship after the IRB created a "release window" to ensure European clubs let go of their Argentine players for the duration of the tournament.
Indeed, Eagle admitted that the assurance that the Pumas would be able to field their strongest team was crucial to their eventual inclusion in the tournament.
He said: "The only serious doubts we had were about the strength of the Argentine team. It would be a sad day if they came into this competition and didn't put their best players up.
"As you know Australia, News Zealand and South Africa are pretty strong sides and if the supporters saw Argentina not performing at the level they should be then I think quickly they would lose respect for Argentina. So we made sure that Argentina would have their best side available," he explained.
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