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Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade: World Rugby must end "misuse" of residency rule

Published 06/10/2016

Like in last year's World Cup semi-final, Daniel Hourcade's Argentina face Australia at Twickenham
Like in last year's World Cup semi-final, Daniel Hourcade's Argentina face Australia at Twickenham

Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade has urged World Rugby to end "misuse" of the residency rule that allows Test sides to naturalise overseas-born stars.

Global governing body World Rugby has launched a review into the three-year residency qualification period for a nation to select a player born abroad.

Argentina were the only nation at Rugby World Cup 2015 without any foreign-born players in their squad.

World Rugby's new vice president and former Argentina scrum-half Agustin Pichot has been a vocal supporter of extending the residency eligibility period to five years - and Pumas boss Hourcade endorses those views.

"I agree with him, with Gus (Pichot), we don't suffer that situation so it's difficult to talk about it for us, because we never have players born in other countries in our team," said Hourcade.

"But if players qualify on residency there should be a strong relation between the player and the country.

"There should not be any misuse by the country for their own advantage.

"We have seen that from one World Cup to another World Cup, players representing different countries.

"But I think they have to show there is a strong relation between that player and that country to be selected.

"It's difficult to understand that some countries with one million players have to go after players from other countries."

At World Cup 2015 some 135 players represented nations other than the country of their birth, almost 22 per cent of the players in the competition.

All the home nations have profited from the current residency rules, with Ireland perhaps the most open about identifying project players for their four provinces.

Hourcade believes extending the residency period to five years could also stop Argentina losing young stars to other nations.

Sergio Parisse was born in Argentina but ended up scaling the world game's heights with Italy, but Hourcade believes the Pumas have plenty of plans in place to keep their top stars on home soil.

Argentina only consider players with their Super Rugby franchise the Jaguares for Test selection, effectively ignoring several high-profile stars plying their club trade in Europe.

Hourcade said Argentina also harbour the long-term goal of securing a second Super Rugby franchise.

"It's happened to us, it's happened to us before, with Italy," said Hourcade of Argentina losing potential Pumas players in the past.

"But on the other hand we weren't able to offer anything to them back then. We didn't have a good tournament in relation to the country.

"But now we have the Rugby Championship, the Jaguares franchise, a good tournament where they can play.

"And we are thinking about having another franchise in the future.

"If we can get it or not is another matter, but that's the idea."

Argentina and Australia will contest the first Rugby Championship match staged in the northern hemisphere at Twickenham on Saturday.

The Pumas are itching to claim a victory to close the tournament and reach their target of two wins for the competition.

Fly-half Nicolas Sanchez and wing Manuel Montero will face late fitness tests ahead of the milestone match in London.

"We will give them every chance to prove their fitness," said Hourcade.

"We take the invitation to play at Twickenham as an honour, and it's something very important for our players.

"The fact that we are not playing at home probably generates something that is not so strong for the team, but on the other hand it's very important to play at Twickenham in this type of game."

Argentina team: J Tuculet, M Moroni, M Orlando, S Gonzalez Iglesias, M Montero, N Sanchez, M Landajo, L Noguera, A Creevy (capt), R Herrera, G Petti, M Alemanno, P Matera, J Ortega Desio, L Senatore.

Replacements: J Montoya, S Garcia Botta, E Pieretto, M Kremer, T Cubelli, JM Leguizamon, J De La Fuente/G Ascarate, R Moyano/LG Amorosino.

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