No prospect of eastern Europe joining in 6 Nations

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 30 Jan 2016, 12:24 am

First topic message reminder :

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/rugby/rugby-union/international/six-nations-2016-no-prospect-of-eastern-europe-joining-in-best-tournament-a6840196.html#commentsDiv

Way to crush all hope for other nations in Europe. Whats the point in even developing rugby in other European countries?

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Post by Rowanbi on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:05 pm

Samoa is 11-4 versus Japan all time. Fiji 12-3, and Tonga 8-7.

Waiting until Georgia starts taking 6 Nations scalps puts them in a Catch 22 situation. They need the exposure to that level of rugby on a regular basis before that's likely. Romania had regular fixtures with France for decades before they began to beat them - then astonished the rugby world by downing both Wales and 5 Nations champs Scotland in the early 1980s. Italy were playing several matches a year against tier 1 opposition (including 'A' teams & 'XV's)' before they made their big breakthrough with victory over Ireland in 1995. If Georgia were at least playing a couple of the 6 Nations teams annually, and perhaps one of the Rugby Championship sides during the Autumn tours, probably those successes would come (and especially if they actually got to play Italy itself).

&, sorry, Secretfly, but I hardly imagine a promotion-relegation fixture is going to result in any of the 6 Nations teams focusing entirely on winning such a game. Obviously they will start out trying to win the championship. & once out of contention for the big prize, they'll be battling to avoid the spoon. So there will be much greater incentive at the bottom end of the table.

As mentioned, I would like to see the 6 Nations team host the promotion-relegation fixture to ensure the challenger would need to be decisively superior to the incumbent in order to replace them.


Last edited by Rowanbi on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Rowanbi on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:06 pm

catchweight wrote:A closed shop 6 Nations is no development. I cant think of a better argument than having the 6 Nations reserved for the 6 most deserving teams.

Hold the play off in the Summer, well after the 6 Nations where both play offs teams have recovery time. The winner will deserve their place in the next tournament.

I think the added dimension of the possibility of relegation would make the competion more exciting as well as opening it up for a system of meritocrisy and an extra dimension to play for. Less dead rubber matches. Italy have had nearly 20 years of 6 nations "development" time. If they cant beat georgia in a play off, they really dont deserve to be in the comeption next year. Same goes for whoever gets the wooden spoon.

thumbsup thumbsup
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Post by SecretFly on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:12 pm

Will England ever get the Wooden spoon with their player resources, conditioning sciences (used the full Olympic mojo blueprint for their WC attempt), and large large sponsors, etc?

We talk of meritocracy so much in the new age...the 21st century... and yet so easily slide past the blunt point that no Professional sport in this age is based on Meritocracy. It's based on advantage due to economics, greater numbers, bigger sponsors, wealthier owners, more fans etc etc. There is nothing remotely meritocratic about smaller Nations/clubs struggling to stay 'competitive' with larger ones.

So when we accept that sport, all professional sport, is a loaded dice weighed in the favour of the most resourced, then we'll stop trying to pretend getting rid of some to let others in is no more than a marketing buzz to generate more money and generate even more 'games' for the never satisfied Sky Sport addicts Wink

PS.. IF England were relegated just once.... the powers that be would quickly reflect on the meritocracy of the Promotion/Relegation concept, claiming that the 6N couldn't sanction losing such an influential side in terms of audience figures and marketing potential.
Therefore, the rules would then be changed to make Promotion/Relegation less 'meritocratic' a system than the organisers hoped it would be. And we'd then become the SixEurovision Nations, Wink - whereby only some Nations have to go through the promotion/relegation process whilst others get an eternal place at the round table due to the meritocracy of Bottom Dollar Cool

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Post by catchweight on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:18 pm

That is a pie in the sky argument. We are talking about the bottom placed Six Nation side playing off against the top tier 2 side for a place in the tournament. Not revolutionisation sporting economics.

Im confident the 6 Nations could survive as a tournament should manage manage to win a spot in it.

A promotional play off is as straight forward a concept as you can get in sport.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:20 pm

Japan is the best tier 2 nation by a mile at the minute. They have taken massive strides in the last couple of years. A lot of Samoa's stars are nearing retirement or have already retired and Fiji could barely string two phases together in the RWC despite the fact they fixed their set piece problem.

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Post by Rowanbi on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:30 pm

at the minute

I'm talking about more general terms than at the minute. Also, Georgian fans might just disagree with you on that point, even if the Pacific Island fans didn't. On top of which, Japan isn't in the Southern Hemisphere, so are we going to say that the Rugby Championship, like Super Rugby, is the 'Championship of Everybody except Europe?' I hope not...

As for England getting relegated, if they were ever bad enough to finish last in the 6 Nations behind Italy AND lose at home to the ENC winner (in the promotion-relegation fixture I suggest), then they'd fully deserve their place in the '2nd vision.' That's my idea of 'meritocracy.'
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Post by SecretFly on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:38 pm

catchweight wrote:That is a pie in the sky argument. We are talking about the bottom placed Six Nation side playing off against the top tier 2 side for a place in the tournament. Not revolutionisation sporting economics.

Im confident the 6 Nations could survive as a tournament should manage manage to win a spot in it.

A promotional play off is as straight forward a concept as you can get in sport.

We're talking 'meritocracy'.... and I didn't bring up the word. But that's the word that arrived on 606 pages - again! Wink
I say already there is no meritocracy in Europe, either in Club or in the 6N. We have some great competitions but they are not run in any meaningful sense on a meritocratic basis. They are run on a survival of the fittest...even if the fight is an unequal one.

That's fair enough. That's the climate of reality in the world and in sport. But please, don't anybody tell me we want 'fairness' and/or 'meritocracy'. I've heard too much about those things over the last few years.... and we all know where the real deal is; - The backrooms, the dealer tables, the allies and enemies in the sponsorship and broadcasting boardrooms. Wanting Italy out - of everything - is a buzz-topic created by those with money on their mind.

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Post by catchweight on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:46 pm

Im not really seeing any relevant argument here to a promotion / relegation play off between the bottom placed 6 Nation team and the top placed Tier 2 team. I have no idea bout abut these dealers or sponsors you are going on about.

Its a simple sporting concept I am in favour of. Not some economics and politics fudging. If Georgia are better than the worst 6 Nations team, and they can prove it on the sporting field. Let them in. Thats all really.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:48 pm

SecretFly wrote:
catchweight wrote:That is a pie in the sky argument. We are talking about the bottom placed Six Nation side playing off against the top tier 2 side for a place in the tournament. Not revolutionisation sporting economics.

Im confident the 6 Nations could survive as a tournament should manage manage to win a spot in it.

A promotional play off is as straight forward a concept as you can get in sport.

We're talking 'meritocracy'.... and I didn't bring up the word.  But that's the word that arrived on 606 pages - again! Wink
I say already there is no meritocracy in Europe, either in Club or in the 6N.  We have some great competitions but they are not run in any meaningful sense on a meritocratic basis.  They are run on a survival of the fittest...even if the fight is an unequal one.

That's fair enough.  That's the climate of reality in the world and in sport.  But please, don't anybody tell me we want 'fairness' and/or 'meritocracy'.  I've heard too much about those things over the last few years.... and we all know where the real deal is; -  The backrooms, the dealer tables, the allies and enemies in the sponsorship and broadcasting boardrooms.  Wanting Italy out - of everything - is a buzz-topic created by those with money on their mind.
Well that is simply not true, if you look at the article at the top of the thread the Six Nations chief executive (John Feehan) wants the complete opposite of wanting rid of Italy. Georgia's biggest stadium holds 55k if I remember correctly, so Italy will always have bigger crowds; not mention a much larger population. The thing is the sponsors and broadcasters want Italy to stay... that's why this will never happen and why there is even a debate on the subject.

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Post by Rowanbi on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:56 pm

I would be mortified if Italy got relegated. I was very excited when they joined and more so when they won their first game. I've always back them. Hopefully this year was an aberration, because they've actually doubled their success rate over the past several years overall. Perhaps, if they bounce back next year with a couple of wins, all this will be forgotten. But the main reason I'd like to see the promotion-relegation fixture in place is to ensure that the 6 Nations were actually being contested by the best six teams in Europe, and thereby turned into what it should be - the first division of an international rugby competition open to all European nations.
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Post by SecretFly on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 8:46 pm

LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Well that is simply not true, if you look at the article at the top of the thread the Six Nations chief executive (John Feehan) wants the complete opposite of wanting rid of Italy. Georgia's biggest stadium holds 55k if I remember correctly, so Italy will always have bigger crowds; not mention a much larger population. The thing is the sponsors and broadcasters want Italy to stay... that's why this will never happen and why there is even a debate on the subject.

It is true that Six Nations chief Exec is not the totality of opinion on rugby in Europe (far from it) ...neither is his position strong enough to have much sway with those that disagree with him.

The general picture these last number of seasons, both in these fan based forums, in professional print and backed up by a lack of comment from Media/sponsor/broadcasting circles (not the rallying call of support for Italy like you infer) is for Italy to be ousted - to be ousted not just from the Six Nations but also that their Pro12 teams need to be ousted from European club competition and indeed that they're bringing nothing to the Pro12 either.  

That's the truth of the swingometer these last number of years, LeinsterFan.  I know what I read and have been around for most of it.

So I regard it as a growing whisper campaign to just dump Italy as the '6th' of the 6th as it were and find another side that might have the potential to kick off Interest in another area of Europe with more potential for 'growth' - and by Growth I mean growth of the 'Brand' that is 6N, not growth in the quality of rugby actually being played in this Georgian sphere of influence.
I believe the feeling is that Italy have been given enough time to 'popularise' the sport in their area of influence, that the big guns feel it hasn't happened sufficiently and now it is time to sow the seeds of removal so that a Russian/East European potentially lucrative gravy train might be given a chance to prove the 'value' they can bring in coins into the tills.

Now that might be all considered fine and worthy cold and calculated business manoeuvring - and we've seen the same trick pulled at club level in Europe - but I won't sit and take the schmaltz that goes with the show.  Many fans take the gunge they get in the media and run with it, accept it as they see it at face value.  I won't.  This continues to be an active campaign by many disparate groups, including clubs, sponsors, commentators and Broadcasters to shift and own the agenda of who gets to play in the big competitions.
So tell me where all these effusive appeals from the sponsors and broadcasters are that state they want Italy to remain in situ and are upset by all the speculations surrounding them?  I don't see it. I must be reading and looking at all the wrong media outlets Wink

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Post by SecretFly on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 8:51 pm

catchweight wrote:Im not really seeing any relevant argument here to a promotion / relegation play off between the bottom placed 6 Nation team and the top placed Tier 2 team. I have no idea bout abut these dealers or sponsors you are going on about.
You've missed out on a lot of fun, catch. You should have been more frequently on these pages and more frequently involved with rugby punditry and topics over the last number of years to know that Rugby Union in Europe has become a massive political 'football' power game. And it's a political power game that's only just really started.

You missed an awful lot of fun if you're oblivious now to what I'm going on about.

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Post by catchweight on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 9:10 pm

I havent missed it, its just got nothing to do with the point I am making

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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 9:23 pm

SecretFly wrote:
LeinsterFan4life wrote:
Well that is simply not true, if you look at the article at the top of the thread the Six Nations chief executive (John Feehan) wants the complete opposite of wanting rid of Italy. Georgia's biggest stadium holds 55k if I remember correctly, so Italy will always have bigger crowds; not mention a much larger population. The thing is the sponsors and broadcasters want Italy to stay... that's why this will never happen and why there is even a debate on the subject.

It is true that Six Nations chief Exec is not the totality of opinion on rugby in Europe (far from it) ...neither is his position strong enough to have much sway with those that disagree with him.

The general picture these last number of seasons, both in these fan based forums, in professional print and backed up by a lack of comment from Media/sponsor/broadcasting circles (not the rallying call of support for Italy like you infer) is for Italy to be ousted - to be ousted not just from the Six Nations but also that their Pro12 teams need to be ousted from European club competition and indeed that they're bringing nothing to the Pro12 either.  

That's the truth of the swingometer these last number of years, LeinsterFan.  I know what I read and have been around for most of it.

So I regard it as a growing whisper campaign to just dump Italy as the '6th' of the 6th as it were and find another side that might have the potential to kick off Interest in another area of Europe with more potential for 'growth' - and by Growth I mean growth of the 'Brand' that is 6N, not growth in the quality of rugby actually being played in this Georgian sphere of influence.
I believe the feeling is that Italy have been given enough time to 'popularise' the sport in their area of influence, that the big guns feel it hasn't happened sufficiently and now it is time to sow the seeds of removal so that a Russian/East European potentially lucrative gravy train might be given a chance to prove the 'value' they can bring in coins into the tills.

Now that might be all considered fine and worthy cold and calculated business manoeuvring - and we've seen the same trick pulled at club level in Europe - but I won't sit and take the schmaltz that goes with the show.  Many fans take the gunge they get in the media and run with it, accept it as they see it at face value.  I won't.  This continues to be an active campaign by many disparate groups, including clubs, sponsors, commentators and Broadcasters to shift and own the agenda of who gets to play in the big competitions.
So tell me where all these effusive appeals from the sponsors and broadcasters are that state they want Italy to remain in situ and are upset by all the speculations surrounding them?  I don't see it.  I must be reading and looking at all the wrong media outlets Wink
I think Chief executive is exactly guy you would want to listen to, as his words represent the views of the broadcaster and sponsors etc of the 6 nations. What some people are asking for is a chance for other European teams to qualify for the 6 nations. That doesn't mean they want to dump Italy, it means they want whoever is 6th to go into a playoff with the ENC winners for the right to be in the competition. The fans and media are (rightfully) presuming that is Italy because they have simply been woeful in recent years but who knows how well Italy will be playing in a couple of years.

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Post by Not grey and not a ghost on Sun 20 Mar 2016, 9:41 pm

Doesn't this happen every other year. I'm pretty sure their have been calls for Scotland to be dumped in the past. A step back in time if you ask me. They'd be better of having 8 teams in two divisions with a playoff and maybe promotion relegation. to Europe 1.

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Post by Rowanbi on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:53 am

52,000 at the Georgia v Romania game Shocked

Surely it's about time 6 Nations teams started visiting Tbilisi for test matches.
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Post by robbo277 on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 1:49 pm

What about about an 8 Nations?

UK and Ireland pool of 4
Continental pool of 4 (France, Italy, Georgia, Romania)

Weeks 1 to 3 play the teams in your pool. Week 5 play cup and plate semis and Week 7 play 4 finals. 7 games in 5 weeks as we have now.

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Post by RuggerRadge2611 on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 1:51 pm

Rowanbi wrote:52,000 at the Georgia v Romania game Shocked

Surely it's about time 6 Nations teams started visiting Tbilisi for test matches.

The numbers attending games are utterly meaningless. Untill Georgia or Romania look like beating 6N opposition they cannot be included.

You must ask yourself why none of them are trying to get a match with Italy or Scotland?
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Post by HammerofThunor on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:14 pm

robbo277 wrote:What about about an 8 Nations?

UK and Ireland pool of 4
Continental pool of 4 (France, Italy, Georgia, Romania)

Weeks 1 to 3 play the teams in your pool. Week 5 play cup and plate semis and Week 7 play 4 finals. 7 games in 5 weeks as we have now.

Shocked

5 games in 7 weeks?

One of the key things that would need to there is stability of income. So, 3 or 2 home games, alternating per year. When you have variability of fixtures how do you ensure this is the case?

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Post by Rowanbi on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 4:12 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
Rowanbi wrote:52,000 at the Georgia v Romania game Shocked

Surely it's about time 6 Nations teams started visiting Tbilisi for test matches.

The numbers attending games are utterly meaningless. Untill Georgia or Romania look like beating 6N opposition they cannot be included.

You must ask yourself why none of them are trying to get a match with Italy or Scotland?

Already answered that earlier:

Waiting until Georgia starts taking 6 Nations scalps puts them in a Catch 22 situation. They need the exposure to that level of rugby on a regular basis before that's likely. Romania had regular fixtures with France for decades before they began to beat them - then astonished the rugby world by downing both Wales and 5 Nations champs Scotland in the early 1980s. Italy were playing several matches a year against tier 1 opposition (including 'A' teams & 'XV's)' before they made their big breakthrough with victory over Ireland in 1995. If Georgia were at least playing a couple of the 6 Nations teams annually, and perhaps one of the Rugby Championship sides during the Autumn tours, probably those successes would come (and especially if they actually got to play Italy itself).

Also, in the comment you referred to, I only mentioned games - not inclusion in an expanded 6 Nations.

UK and Ireland pool of 4
Continental pool of 4 (France, Italy, Georgia, Romania)


Works for me, but 6 Nation fans would be horrified at losing the annual fixtures with France, in particular, while both France & Italy fans would be horrified at losing the annual fixtures with the Home Unions, of course.
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Post by marty2086 on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 5:04 pm

So Italy playing in the 6Ns hasn't helped them develop but Georgia playing against Tier 1 nations will help them? Shocked

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Post by Not grey and not a ghost on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 8:48 pm

RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
Rowanbi wrote:52,000 at the Georgia v Romania game Shocked

Surely it's about time 6 Nations teams started visiting Tbilisi for test matches.

The numbers attending games are utterly meaningless. Untill Georgia or Romania look like beating 6N opposition they cannot be included.

You must ask yourself why none of them are trying to get a match with Italy or Scotland?

Is that really the criteria we should be using to determine who gets to play who. Does that mean NZ shouldn't play Scotland. I'm not sure you improve playing standards by not letting teams play.

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Post by catchweight on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 8:55 pm

The whole point of relegation play off is it would afford Georgia or Romania exactly that - the chance to beat a 6 Nations team in a competitive match and justify their inclusion in the tournament.

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 9:44 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:
robbo277 wrote:What about about an 8 Nations?

UK and Ireland pool of 4
Continental pool of 4 (France, Italy, Georgia, Romania)

Weeks 1 to 3 play the teams in your pool. Week 5 play cup and plate semis and Week 7 play 4 finals. 7 games in 5 weeks as we have now.

Shocked

5 games in 7 weeks?

One of the key things that would need to there is stability of income. So, 3 or 2 home games, alternating per year.  When you have variability of fixtures how do you ensure this is the case?

Good spot!

As to the second point, you can't guarantee it with a tournament in that format unless you pre-set semi-final locations, and run the risk of neutral venues. You could ensure better revenue sharing agreements though to "dampen" the effect?

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Post by robbo277 on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 9:52 pm

Rowanbi wrote:
RuggerRadge2611 wrote:
Rowanbi wrote:52,000 at the Georgia v Romania game Shocked

Surely it's about time 6 Nations teams started visiting Tbilisi for test matches.

The numbers attending games are utterly meaningless. Untill Georgia or Romania look like beating 6N opposition they cannot be included.

You must ask yourself why none of them are trying to get a match with Italy or Scotland?

Already answered that earlier:

Waiting until Georgia starts taking 6 Nations scalps puts them in a Catch 22 situation. They need the exposure to that level of rugby on a regular basis before that's likely. Romania had regular fixtures with France for decades before they began to beat them - then astonished the rugby world by downing both Wales and 5 Nations champs Scotland in the early 1980s. Italy were playing several matches a year against tier 1 opposition (including 'A' teams & 'XV's)' before they made their big breakthrough with victory over Ireland in 1995. If Georgia were at least playing a couple of the 6 Nations teams annually, and perhaps one of the Rugby Championship sides during the Autumn tours, probably those successes would come (and especially if they actually got to play Italy itself).

Also, in the comment you referred to, I only mentioned games - not inclusion in an expanded 6 Nations.

UK and Ireland pool of 4
Continental pool of 4 (France, Italy, Georgia, Romania)


Works for me, but 6 Nation fans would be horrified at losing the annual fixtures with France, in particular, while both France & Italy fans would be horrified at losing the annual fixtures with the Home Unions, of course.

I would have thought the Home Unions would enjoy having the triple crown still to play for before the play-offs commence. France and Italy (given their current state) may appreciate the "softer" side of the draw!

It would take some marketing to build Georgia and Romania up as credible rugby nations, but they should hopefully win a few games and then that would definitely help.

The other option would be the same format but with two seeded pools drawn randomly. It has merits (more even groups), but you lose the Triple Crown.

The expansion plan would then be to use UK and Ireland, West Europe (spearheaded by France and Italy) and East Europe (spearheaded by Georgia and Romania). You would then have the "best second place" seeding used in the JWC.

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Post by Rowanbi on Mon 21 Mar 2016, 10:01 pm

marty2086 wrote:So Italy playing in the 6Ns hasn't helped them develop but Georgia playing against Tier 1 nations will help them? Shocked

Not so. Italy has improved. They have doubled their success rate during their past seven or eight years in the competition. Moreover, they are a far better team than they were in the amateur era, playing second fiddle to Romania in the FIRA competition - and sometimes even third behind the USSR. They didn't manage a significant victory in international rugby until they beat Ireland in a full test match in 1995, and they didn't even win the FIRA first division until its final year in 1999. At the World Cup in 1999, need I remind you, they lost to Tonga and concede a ton against the All Blacks. So to suggest they haven't improved on the basis of this season, and this season alone, would appear a little premature. Hopefully this year was an aberration. The French were woeful too. Everyone's rebuilding after the RWC. Let's give it another season or two before writing the Azzurri off . . .


The expansion plan would then be to use UK and Ireland, West Europe (spearheaded by France and Italy) and East Europe (spearheaded by Georgia and Romania). You would then have the "best second place" seeding used in the JWC.


I like your style. As I said, it works for me - but I'm not European. I just doubt the Home Unions would be prepared to give up their French games, and the French & Italians would almost certainly be loathed to trade the Home Unions for Eastern Europe. That's being practical. But if you believe otherwise, be my guest and write a letter to the respective unions about it.
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Post by Kingshu on Tue 22 Mar 2016, 6:17 pm

I have been think about this, and even if Italy were replaced i think the team coming in would be worse.
The only viable alternative I can think of is that Italy are replaced with a European Barbarians team.

Best of Italy, Georgia, Romania etc, combined.

Ok there would be language issues and the FIR would receive less funds, on the other hand all the other Unions would get a slice of the 6 nations pie. It would possible broaden the Appeal as this team would play home games all around Europe.

I think after a few seasons they would have worked out the language issues and could put together a decent team.

Imagine Wales V European BaBa's in Berlin, or England v Euro Baba's in Georgia, that would really help promote the game on a European Level better than having Italy or Georgia in it.

Think there would be more interest from all over Europe in this team.

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Post by Rowanbi on Tue 22 Mar 2016, 9:54 pm

Baabaas teams are not usually very successful, for the obvious reasons that they are thrown together from different nations and lack a meaningful identity. The South Seas Barbarians & Pacific Islanders were one example of that. Fiji or Samoa or their own would probably have done better.

The more I think about it the more I'm for a promot-relegation match at the home of the incumbent 6 Nations team. After reading that over 50,000 fans turned out to see Georgia clinch a 6th straight ENC title, I'm more convinced than ever that this needs to happen, and that the 6 Nations would lose nothing if Georgia or any other team ever did finally break in.
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Post by Rowanbi on Thu 24 Mar 2016, 12:22 am

World Rugby has announced the Tier 2 June tour schedule. It's not too bad in terms of interest and development

Georgia (ranked 12th) will play against Samoa (15), Tonga (13) and Fiji (11) when each would otherwise have a bye in the Pacific Nations Cup. These matches will showcase an interesting clash of styles, and will be Georgia's first trip to the Islands since a test in Nuku'alofa in 1999. It will however meant the Tblisi Cup will not be contested this year.

Italy (14) will cover a few miles playing Argentina (6), USA (17) and Canada (18).

Poor results for Italy, if Georgia does well, will obviously increase the clamour for reform of the 6N and ENC.

Giant-killers Japan (10) will also travel to Canada before twice facing Scotland (9) at home. Again, this series could be a real marker of how the gap is closing between the traditional powers and others.

Russia (19) is Canada's 3rd opponent, which will help demonstrate if the rankings are accurate in placing Canada only 1 place ahead. Russia then go on to play USA (no word if Obama will host Putin at the match).
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Post by marty2086 on Thu 24 Mar 2016, 9:32 am

Rowanbi wrote:Poor results for Italy, if Georgia does well, will obviously increase the clamour for reform of the 6N and ENC.

It all depends on the context, I can't see Italy being much better than they currently are this summer as its too short a period to turn it round especially with a new or interim coaching team

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Post by kingelderfield on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 10:06 am

The 6 nations being what it is means it just doesn't have the incentive to change. However I think it is fair to say that there is a need for an expanded arena where the other developing european nations can compete and enjoy the exposure of 1st tier competition.

Therefore my suggestion would be for a european cup played every 4 years at the same time as the anachronistic Lions tour. Of course this will mean that eng scot irl & wal will be player light however this will help to even the competition (excepting fra), enable player exposure, reduce the value of the Lions cabal and primarily promote the european international game.

Russia, Georgia, Romania, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland Wales.

4 groups of 3 Teams (2 games) followed by Cup, Bowl and Vase semi's and final's and positional play off's. Basically every side plays 5 games over 4 weeks.

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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 10:34 am

What I do not understand is, why is it that only a selective three countries are privvy to Lions tours. 

Perhaps taking the Lions to other countries could do wonders for expanding rugby. Why aren't the Lions ever doing a tour of USA or Argentina ? 

Why is it always New Zealand, Australia and South Africa ?

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Post by marty2086 on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:22 am

LordDowlais wrote:What I do not understand is, why is it that only a selective three countries are privvy to Lions tours. 

Perhaps taking the Lions to other countries could do wonders for expanding rugby. Why aren't the Lions ever doing a tour of USA or Argentina ? 

Why is it always New Zealand, Australia and South Africa ?

You mean except for the 3 tours to Argentina?

The USA don't have the teams to be able to facilitate a full tour and Argentina can't provide the financial returns the other RC teams can to support the Lions tour.

I think a game with the US had been announced or at least was close to being announced for next year but was scrapped because the US couldn't get a full team together as players were not going to be released by their clubs for it.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Argentina included in some form in 2021 as S. Africa are next up in rotation and the closer proximity between the two would offer a great opportunity for a game there

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Post by LordDowlais on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:30 am

What about touring France ? Or Japan ? Or even Russia ?

They all have ample teams to play on a tour. I would bet my bottom dollar if the Lions announced that they would be touring Russia, USA, Japan in 8 years time, the respective countries would start getting their acts together to make a fist of it.

Why should only three countries be privvy to the money making machine that is the Lions ?

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Post by Rowanbi on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:30 am

kingelderfield wrote:The 6 nations being what it is means it just doesn't have the incentive to change. However I think it is fair to say that there is a need for an expanded arena where the other developing european nations can compete and enjoy the exposure of 1st tier competition.

Therefore my suggestion would be for a european cup played every 4 years at the same time as the anachronistic Lions tour. Of course this will mean that eng scot irl & wal will be player light however this will help to even the competition (excepting fra), enable player exposure, reduce the value of the Lions cabal and primarily promote the european international game.

Russia, Georgia, Romania, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, England, Scotland, Ireland Wales.

4 groups of 3 Teams (2 games) followed by Cup, Bowl and Vase semi's and final's and positional play off's. Basically every side plays 5 games over 4 weeks.  

I've made similar suggestions in the past, though I'd favour an eight team format to begin with. Good idea to stage it during Lions tours, but that would certainly give France the edge.
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Post by Hammersmith harrier on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:33 am

The Lions tour is all about testing yourself against the best, the incentive wouldn't be there if they were playing against teams they know they'd beat and beat comfortably.

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Post by Rowanbi on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:39 am


You mean except for the 3 tours to Argentina?


All pre-War and weren't regarded as official test matches, I believe. The Lions also played Fiji in an unofficial test once - and were beaten (Suva, 77).

Why should only three countries be privvy to the money making machine that is the Lions ?



Tradition, culture and conservatism, of course. I'm not a big fan of Lions tours but understand that there are huge financial benefits to the countries involved. So if they are to continue, I agree, at least add Argentina to the agenda.

Meanwhile, more about the Lelos on World Rugby's web site today, with renewed calls for inclusion in an expanded 6 Nations: http://www.worldrugby.org/news/148364
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Post by marty2086 on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 11:53 am

LordDowlais wrote:What about touring France ? Or Japan ? Or even Russia ?

They all have ample teams to play on a tour. I would bet my bottom dollar if the Lions announced that they would be touring Russia, USA, Japan in 8 years time, the respective countries would start getting their acts together to make a fist of it.

Why should only three countries be privvy to the money making machine that is the Lions ?

And maybe they don't get their acts together

USA don't even have a pro league yet and you think the teams will be able to compete in 8 years even though we don't know if the league is sustainable when it does start

The Japanese league would have to be restructured to facilitate a Lions tour as would the Russian league

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Post by Sin é on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 12:59 pm

LordDowlais wrote:What about touring France ? Or Japan ? Or even Russia ?

They all have ample teams to play on a tour. I would bet my bottom dollar if the Lions announced that they would be touring Russia, USA, Japan in 8 years time, the respective countries would start getting their acts together to make a fist of it.

Why should only three countries be privvy to the money making machine that is the Lions ?

Because those 3 countries (who rushed everyone into professionalism) are dependent on the Lions for a huge injection of cash every 12 years.

The financial powerhouse of SH rugby, South Africa, has a turnover that is similar to Scotland (£44m). The financial hub of world rugby is the 6Ns which allows those countries to be self sufficient and thus not need to be supported by World Rugby the way other countries need to be supported.

Be very careful what you wish for.

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Post by Rowanbi on Fri 25 Mar 2016, 5:46 pm





English Navy v French Marines, I believe . . . warning
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Post by geoff999rugby on Sat 26 Mar 2016, 11:51 am

LordDowlais wrote:What about touring France ? Or Japan ? Or even Russia ?

They all have ample teams to play on a tour. I would bet my bottom dollar if the Lions announced that they would be touring Russia, USA, Japan in 8 years time, the respective countries would start getting their acts together to make a fist of it.

Why should only three countries be privvy to the money making machine that is the Lions ?

If we toured those countries the unfortunate reality is it would devalue the Lions.
I would expect 70%+ of the selected players to decline the offer

Sad in many ways but there you go

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Post by Rowanbi on Sat 26 Mar 2016, 12:00 pm

A full scale tour of those countries would indeed be a waste of time, France because there's already a case of overkill among the 6 Nations, Japan and Russia (in particular) because they wouldn't be competitive enough, although a stop-off test against Japan might be an option enroute to the Antipodes. Ditto Fiji, of course, who are 1-0 against the Lions (unofficially) after the '77 epic. Argentina's the only country that really ought to be considered as a possible addition as far as full scale tours goes. Of course, this all began because the vast distances between Britain and the Antipodes made tours so difficult and time-consuming back in the early days. They only thing that keeps them going in the professional era with its clogged up international calendar is the tradition they have built up over the decades. No need to compound that by expanding it to include more nations.
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Post by aucklandlaurie on Sat 26 Mar 2016, 1:06 pm

Eastern Eurpean countries have as much show of joining the six nations as Samoa, Tonga or Fiji have of joing the Rugby Championship.

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Post by Rowanbi on Sat 26 Mar 2016, 7:28 pm

Not sure about that. For one thing, don't discount the possibility of a Pacific Island team joining an expanded Rugby Championship in the future. For another, Georgia's getting crowds of 55,000, That's not even possible in the Pacific Islands, since the biggest stadium, in Suva, only seats 25 K. & Romania once held the world record for a crowd at a rugby game, about 90 K or so, although there were extenuating circumstances. So while I think there is a paralell between the plight of Eastern Europe and the plight of the Pacific Islands, insomuch as both are being ignored by their more powerful neighbors, I think it's a case of comparing apples and oranges when it comes to comparing their prospects of being admitted into the elite competitions.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sat 26 Mar 2016, 11:42 pm

Milton Haig :

"If it's going to cost us some money [to join the Six Nations], tell us how much, and I'm sure our government and our benefactors would jump at the chance to try and finance something like that. It's not about keeping the status quo, but looking at potential, of what you could develop. And about adding value to the current competition. We can add value."

Money certainly ain't a thing with Georgia. Could they not look at developing a professional league like Romania?

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Post by Rowanbi on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 11:33 am

Good idea. Maybe they could have a 'super club' competing in Europe the way Argentina and Japan have one team each competing in Super Rugby . . . idea
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Post by LeinsterFan4life on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 1:34 pm

Rowanbi wrote:Good idea. Maybe they could have a 'super club' competing in Europe the way Argentina and Japan have one team each competing in Super Rugby . . . idea
They have a super club based in Tiblisi, that are trying to qualify for the Challenge cup.

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Post by Rowanbi on Sun 27 Mar 2016, 2:14 pm

Really? News to me. What's it called? I'll do some research on it...
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Post by Rowanbi on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 10:11 pm

This issue won't die. Somehow, somewhere, they're going to have to find a place for Georgia:

Georgia captain Mamuka Gorgodze has responded to Italian counterpart Sergio Parisse's comments about keeping the Six Nations trapdoor closed.

The powerful back-row, who plays his club rugby for Toulon, hit back at Parisse after he claimed Italy deserve their place at the top table.

Parisse was recently irked by questions from the media about their standing in the Six Nations after they suffered five losses from five.

"Could you imagine teams like Ireland, Scotland or even France being last in the tournament and being relegated and going to play other nations? I think it's a stupid question. Italy do a lot for this tournament," was the player's response when speaking to Rugbyrama on the matter.

"I am really respectful for countries like Georgia and Romania, but they have never beaten France or Ireland. We really deserve to be here, simple as that."

That clearly upset Gorgodze, who has responded to the same website with a heated retort.

"What Parisse said about [promotion/relegation] was not good. It's not for him to say that one team should be in one place and another team elsewhere. His job is to play on the field and not to talk to the press off it," he said.

"What I can tell you is that Georgia would never lose by 70 points to Wales.

"For me, and I repeat it, Georgia aren't ready to play in the Six Nations. But were we to develop for 17 years at that level, I'm sure we'd progress at least as quickly as Italy."
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Post by Sin é on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 7:10 am

Eh, find a place in the Six Nations?

Georgia captain Mamuka Gorgodze wrote:"For me, and I repeat it, Georgia aren't ready to play in the Six Nations.
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