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Argentina play hard ball over tour dates

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    Argentina play hard ball over tour dates

    <DIV =LeadPara>Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan is expected to announce both the Ireland squad to tour Argentina and the Ireland A squad to take part in this summer's Churchill Cup at the end of the month. It's likely the confirmation of the two groups will come before the final two rounds in the Magners Celtic League. </DIV>
    <DIV =LeadPara>Ireland's tour to Argentina has already encountered a few teething problems with an uncommunicative Argentine Rugby Union (UAR). The IRFU had previously asked the International Board (IRB) to intervene as they couldn't get the UAR to commit to a venue for the second Test. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The Argentine union eventually confirmed the match would be played in Santa Fe with the other international taking place in Buenos Aires. They were unable to confirm kick-off times and still haven't communicated that information officially. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>The IRFU believes the matches will start at 4.10pm local time (8.10pm Irish time). Those Irish supporters who don't travel to South America will have to wait a little longer to see if they will be in a position to watch the games on television. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>RTÉ and Setanta Sports bid for the rights to televise the matches but neither were awarded the contract. Given the doubt surrounding the staging of the tour and the fact that Ireland may travel without several front-line players, both broadcasting networks decided to maintain a watching brief. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Sky Sports are also reputed to be interested but until the kick-off times are confirmed, there won't be much movement on the television rights. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Meanwhile, Mark McHugh will leave Connacht after six seasons and move to France. The province's second all-time leading points scorer behind Eric Elwood has agreed a two-year deal with Montpellier. There is a condition attached that the 28-year-old can break the agreement if the club are relegated at the end of this season. They are bottom of the table after last weekend's games. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>McHugh is believed to have offers from other French clubs and may elect to go elsewhere. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>He pointed out: "I have had six great seasons with Connacht but it is now time to move on and I am very much looking forward to playing in France." </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Having started his interprovincial career with Leinster - his performance in kicking Leicester to defeat in one particular Heineken European Cup match will be fondly recalled at Donnybrook - he took up an offer to join Connacht, for whom he is hoping to make his 100th appearance before the end of the season. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>Six players already enjoy that distinction, Elwood, Dan McFarland, Darren Yapp, Matt Mostyn, Michael Swift and current captain Andrew Farley. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>McHugh, who won his only Ireland cap against Tonga, scoring a try during the 2003 summer tour, was due to reach the landmark against Glasgow but withdrew because of a hamstring injury. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>"It would be a great way to sign off," he admitted, adding he hoped he could win a place in Connacht's final two games away to the Newport Gwent Dragons and Llanelli. </DIV>
    <DIV =TailParas>(c) 2007, The Irish Times. </DIV>
    Seas suas agus troid!


    The fact that neither Setanta or RTE were awarded the rights seems strange, i'm all for bringing Argentina in from the international wilderness but in all honesty they really don't help themselves sometimes.