Between the Argentines and the French championship, a love story that has stood the test of time

Saturday 6 November, at the Stade de France, Argentina will challenge France with eight players in their ranks who play in France. It is the fourth most represented foreign community in the French rugby league. Behind Fijians (39), South Africans (29) and New Zealanders (27), Argentines rank 22nd. A love story spanning more than two decades between Argentines and our country.

Today Mauricio Reggiardo, Provence Rugby Manager, arrived in France in 1996. A native of Bragado, in the province of Buenos Aires, he arrived in Castries at the age of 26. The Argentine champion title and two heads with Pumas in the bags. “I was part of the first generation that went to France, Old column starts. The following December, Omar Hassan left for Osh. In the process, he signs Lisandro Arbizu in Prive. Then quite a few Argentines followed suit.”

At that time, rugby was still an amateur in Argentina, when professionalism was in its infancy in France. The vast majority of clubs are made up of French players. Few foreigners come from the major countries of international rugby.

But one event will change everything. “The 1999 World Cup began with the arrival of Argentine players in France, One of France’s most influential rugby agents, Miguel Fernandez, explains in particular the origin of many of the Pumas’ arrivals on the French field in the early 2000s. to me On the occasion of the World Cup and the tours, we have always discovered Argentinian talent. Since rugby was quite amateurish there, a sector was set up quickly. With the first players arriving in France, it was very easy to call up a player who was already playing in Argentina because all the players know each other.”

Since then, the best Argentine players have arrived in France: Ignacio Corlito, Agustin Pichot, Juan Martin Hernandez, Mario Ledesma, Rodrigo Ronsero. Instead of joining the UK and its professional teams, Argentines are making a “natural” choice, both culturally and in terms of rugby according to Mauricio Rígiardo: “Our Latin side, our ease of adaptation, our rugby values, like those of the French, make it easy for us to come to France.”

Today, Provence rugby coach, Mauricio Ricciardo (here left) has 50 picks and two World Cup appearances.  (Patrick Kovarik/AFP)

“If we have to compare players from South Africa, New Zealand or Australia, the Argentines are the ones who adapt faster because it is culturally similar, Completed by Miguel Fernandez. The Argentine match was in good agreement with our championship at the time.”

“The Argentine, he should belong where he is. Once we arrive, we invest a lot. Even after two weeks, it looks like we’ve been there for years. C” is a quality of adaptation specific to Argentines. If you take any player from the French court at that time, all the players will be loved. Petit and Cordero in Bordeaux today are the same.”

Above all, the Argentines signed in France are completely loyal to their club. Until 2011 and Argentina’s integration into Rugby (the tournament that brings together the Big Three in Southern rugby), a return to selection is rare. Only during international windows provided for this, unlike other players in the southern hemisphere.

For four seasons, the best local players have formed the Jaguares squad to take on the best South African, Australian and New Zealand clubs in Super Rugby.  (Rodger Bosch/AFP)

In 2016, Argentina took on more prominence in international rugby, but they cut some ties with France. For the first time, an Argentine province is invited to play in the Southern Hemisphere club tournament, Super Rugby. Then the union calls on all its talents to represent the country. If the trial ends due to the health crisis, it ends with a final against the ogre crusaders. During that time, there were fewer prominent Argentine players in Europe.” Miguel Fernandez analysis.

Today, the greatest talents of the Celestials are still developing in the French championship. But the rule limiting the number of players trained outside national borders and increasing outside temptations has passed. Some have benefited from the Super Rugby experience to join the Southern Hemisphere. Others even fill the ranks of British teams.

On Saturday, against the French, it is hard to imagine the Pumas giving gifts to their fellow Top 14. Even if they are tired, when they arrive at the end of an extended season, they will give everything, as in each of their matches against the Blues. .

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