New-look Americas Rugby Championship unveiled

(IRB.COM) Friday 10 September 2010
 New-look Americas Rugby Championship unveiled
Argentina Jaguars won the inaugural Americas Rugby Championship in 2009, when it involved four Canadian provinces and a USA Select side - Photo: Jose Romelo Lagman

The International Rugby Board has announced an exciting new structure for the Americas Rugby Championship 2010, which will be played in Argentina from October 5-15.

Building on the success of the inaugural tournament last year, the 2010 edition will feature international A teams as part of the IRB's global drive to provide Targeted High Performance Unions with access to an expanded high-level competition calendar.

Hosts Argentina will be joined by Canada Selects, USA Select XV and Tonga A in an exciting line-up for the three-round tournament in Cordoba that will provide a key preparation platform for all four Unions ahead of Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.

"This new-look Americas Rugby Championship represents a great step forward for the Game across North and South America, providing an expanded competition format that will generate exciting and competitive matches, while allowing the participating Unions to take a closer look at the development of their elite domestic-based players ahead of RWC 2011," said IRB Head of Development and Performance Mark Egan.

"Tonga has been invited to participate in the tournament this year in order to provide the Union with much needed additional international fixtures as they work towards the opening game of RWC 2011 against the All Blacks. They will provide stern opposition for USA Select XV, Canada Selects and the Jaguars, whose players don't normally get an opportunity to test themselves against the mighty Pacific Islanders.

"The move from a regional format to a competition featuring international A teams fits well with the strategic aims of the participating Unions and underlines the IRB's commitment to delivering an integrated schedule that combines IRB Strategic investment tournaments within a framework that also delivers regular international matches for targeted High Performance Unions."

"Canada, USA, Tonga and Argentina are all priority Unions for our High Performance investment programme and this new tournament structure is central to the IRB's strategic aim of increasing global competitiveness and in particular the performance of Tier 2 teams at Rugby World Cup," added Egan.

The Americas Rugby Championship kicks off in Córdoba on October 5 and for the Unión Argentina de Rugby (UAR) presents the opportunity to build on the success of hosting the record-breaking IRB Junior World Championship 2010 and continue to bring on home-grown talent through the Union's High Performance structures.

"We are delighted to be chosen as hosts for this tournament, which will play an important role in the promotion of the Game within Argentina and also the development of our High Performance programmes," said Luis Castillo, the UAR President.

"For our players, the Americas Rugby Championship represents a great opportunity to access high level competition. Córdoba will be an excellent host and we will work in partnership to deliver what promises to be a memorable and successful tournament."

For participating Unions, the tournament provides a key preparation platform ahead of an expanded November programme, meaning that each will have access to unprecedented high-level competition during the window, providing vital preparation ahead of Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.

"The ARC is an important tournament for a number of reasons. It gives our domestic-based players an opportunity to compete in a high level competition and this year it will also prove excellent preparation for the Eagles' November Tour to Europe, also allowing players a shot at inclusion on that tour," said USA coach Eddie O'Sullivan.

Americas Rugby Championship 2010

Round One: Tuesday, 5 October 2010
USA Select XV v Tonga A
Argentina Jaguars v Canada Selects

Round Two: Sunday, 10 October, 2010
Canada Selects v Tonga A
Argentina Jaguars v USA Select XV

Round Three: Friday, 15 October, 2010
Canada Selects v USA Select XV
Argentina Jaguars v Tonga A