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The Rugby Championship
Contepomi: Pumas' home ties will be 'extraordinary'
ESPN Staff
August 3, 2012
Argentina's Felipe Contepomi evades Italy fly-half Kris Burton, Argentina v Italy, Bicentenario Stadium, San Juan, Argentina, June 9, 2012
Felipe Contepomi hopes that Argentina will benefit from their Rugby Championship bow © Getty Images
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Former Argentina fly-half Felipe Contepomi has promised a special welcome for Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in the inaugural Rugby Championship.

The 34-year-old playmaker retired from international competition earlier this year - leaving Argentina's new breed in charge for their first season in an annual international competition.

The Pumas get their campaign underway against South Africa at Newlands on August 18 before their first home game a week later, when the Springboks will be welcomed to the Estadio Mundialista Malvinas Argentinas in Mendoza.

"The reality is that I'm coming to the end of my career, I wish this could have come earlier, four, five or 10 years ago so that I'd have been able to take part in it," Contepomi told IRB Total Rugby.

"I do believe that there is a great opportunity for young players to achieve their goal and compete against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, to improve and to go to future World Cups with expectations of actually being able to win it.

"Up to now, we've had to wait four years in order to play in the World Cup, now we'll have a well-known tournament every year. We'll have three dates to look forward to, against Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

"Of course, the boys always want to see the best players. Having the chance to have these players in Argentina will be extraordinary. The matches will take place in packed stadiums, full of excitement, and that's something very important for all sport in Argentina, but especially rugby."

Contepomi also believes that success in the Rugby Championship will lead to a further boost for the game in Argentina if players are then invited to play Super Rugby.

"In the future, if Argentina has the opportunity to take part in an annual competition, such as the Super 15, where players are able to play all year round, every year then some of them will start coming to the southern hemisphere," he said.

"At the moment, the best players are in Europe, but once the Rugby Championship kicks off there will be more and more franchises in the southern hemisphere who might be interested in signing those players."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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