World League Proposal to shake up the Rugby calendar

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Post by Intotouch on Mon 28 Jan 2019, 7:00 am

First topic message reminder :

I was surprised that there wasn't a thread on this already. I'd like to hear people's thoughts on the subject so I'm posting this one. If there's already a thread on the subject that I missed then mods, please delete or merge this one.

This week there are meetings in LA between union heads to discuss plans to host an annual world competition in international rugby. According to different sources either the 6 nations will act as a pool stage for the knock out rounds or there will be three pools of three nations followed by a semi final and final. The motivation behind this is to bring in more income for struggling SH unions. It is the idea of Pichot and inspired by the nations cup in soccer in Europe which effectively got rid of soccer friendlies and instead provided plenty of matches but all leading to a title.

Here is one recent article about this:
https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/sport/2019/01/all-blacks-new-world-rugby-league-to-be-proposed.html

Since this competition would naturally involve more matches for the semi finalists and finalists at least it is going to increase the amount of matches international players compete in which brings up concerns for player welfare and clubs resistance. As is mentioned in the article it would turn the world cup into nothing special. Taking the 6 nations from free to air is I think a terrible idea as it's incredibly popular with people who are not really rugby fans, but tune in to it because it's an event and growing up with it builds up an emotional connection with people that would be lost. Since away fans would probably have vast distances to travel the atmosphere at the semis and final could be a bit flat.

However if rugby is in trouble in the SH then something must change to help them. Personally I think the unpredictability of the 6 nations make it exciting, and the predictability of the rugby championship is it's main problem. A world league might turn out to be just as predictable. So solving little. But maybe I'm wrong here and people in Australia for example will get really excited about this and attendances will increase? How do you think the internationals should be changed to increase it's popularity down south and make more money?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 10:03 am

Marty I think it breaks up the momentum of the tournament and new backers may see it as a thing to change. I hate the break myself and training etc either continues or players go back to play for their clubs. I think it's another way to please the club's as well.


Last edited by No 7&1/2 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 10:27 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by robbo277 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 10:24 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Marty I think it breaks up the momentum of the tournament and new backers may see it as a thing.to change. I hate the break myself and training etc either continues or players go back to play for their clubs. I think it's another way to pledge the club's as well.

I'd like to see different teams have different rest weeks.

3 games on Week 1
2 games on Week 2
1 game on Week 3
3 games on Week 4
1 game on Week 5
2 games on Week 6
3 games on Week 7

You could easily have it so that no team plays 3 weeks in a row, by making sure the teams that play on Week 3 do not also play on Week 5.
Week 2: Scotland vs Ireland, Italy vs Wales
Week 3: England vs France
Week 4: All teams play
Week 5: Scotland vs Wales
Week 6: Ireland vs France, England vs Italy
Week 7: All teams play

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 10:29 am

robbo277 wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:Marty I think it breaks up the momentum of the tournament and new backers may see it as a thing.to change. I hate the break myself and training etc either continues or players go back to play for their clubs. I think it's another way to pledge the club's as well.

I'd like to see different teams have different rest weeks.

3 games on Week 1
2 games on Week 2
1 game on Week 3
3 games on Week 4
1 game on Week 5
2 games on Week 6
3 games on Week 7

You could easily have it so that no team plays 3 weeks in a row, by making sure the teams that play on Week 3 do not also play on Week 5.
Week 2: Scotland vs Ireland, Italy vs Wales
Week 3: England vs France
Week 4: All teams play
Week 5: Scotland vs Wales
Week 6: Ireland vs France, England vs Italy
Week 7: All teams play

The problem with that though is you need the leagues and WR on board and to increase the Test windows

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 12:40 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Marty I think it breaks up the momentum of the tournament and new backers may see it as a thing to change. I hate the break myself and training etc either continues or players go back to play for their clubs. I think it's another way to please the club's as well.

Why does everyone keep wanting to change the best competition in Rugby?

Having the seven week period gives a better chance for players to stay fit, or recover from a niggle (Ringrose) or get back from longer term injury (Halfpenny), thus improving the diversity and quality of rugby on show.
Condensing it into five weeks may appeal to the obsessive compulsives but would the clubs really want it? At least in the 'fallow weeks' now there is a chance to send Test players back to get a club game during the tournament rather than keep them away from their fans for over a month.
The extended period should also help the clubs who are missing a lot of Test players because it reduces the risk to a stretched second string who may be unlucky with injuries.
Outside of those concerns having the tournament over (effectively) two months rather than one keeps it in the media and increases it's status. It carries the fans from the darkness of Winter to the start of Spring. Fans wait months for the competition to start so having rest weeks allows fans to savour the fine wine they've been looking forward to, rather than down it in one!

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 1:12 pm

Well put Aukster

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 2:22 pm

The clubs in France and England want it reduced. There's as much chance of players getting injured or ill anyway. You don't have to agree but the stop start nature is annoying to me. And has been something raised before.

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 2:41 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:The clubs in France and England want it reduced. There's as much chance of players getting injured or ill anyway. You don't have to agree but the stop start nature is annoying to me. And has been something raised before.

So the fact studies show players get injured more in games than training means there's as much a chance of them getting injured when they're not playing? Headscratch

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 2:51 pm

Still the same number of games. Training with Eddie Jones is surely more dangerous than games anyway. Hey I d9nt mind if you like the breaks it's just I don't and as stated I suspect it's something that will be looked at again.

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 2:53 pm

It's not the number of games that is the problem, it's the fatigue that comes with playing them over 5 consecutive weeks, this was a problem highlighted by Owen Farrell over the whole World League idea since it was a potential idea with it

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 3:00 pm

Fair enough. I understand your point.

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Post by SecretFly on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 3:25 pm

How actually do you keep a four yearly World Cup as an elite and special event in a world inhabited by a yearly World League anyway? Teams could either say they're keeping their powder dry for a World Cup of they could say the World Cup is just a nuisance factor in their more important yearly pursuit of World dominance.
Like who really would be the boss of World Rugby (the top dog) in that fourth year if two different sides won each contest?
It's for me just another signal that sport is just a vehicle for sponsorship now. There are never enough Championships for the networks that chase sponsorship. A competition or prize for everyone - just like boxing. If there isn't enough opportunity for round the clock IMPORTANT big fights, just invent another Belt for yet another World Champion.
I'm old school. I like simplicity. I like to know without endless argument who is best. So who is best in a World Cup year? New Zealand who wins the World league at a canter or England who surges through to take the World Cup? I'm not interested in the endless juicy arguments about stats and tries and which contest means more historically. I just want to know which side can call itself the best - no debate.
I know - let's have a play off game against World League winner and World Cup winner and call it World Elite Cup Winners Cup! And if it happens to be one team that won both former contests then it has to play the next side with most points from the League year. And then just to make it more fair and inclusive and to help the smaller nations be part of it, just have a World Elite Cup Winners Cup League!

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Post by marty2086 on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4:20 pm

Would a tiered competition that pits the top teams from the RC and 6N and the bottom teams from both against each other be a better alternative? Teams from the Americas RC, European Rugby Championship and Pacific CN could be added in too so you could end up with

6N 1 (Wales)
6N 2(England)
6N 3(Ireland)
RC 1 (NZ)
RC 2 (SA)
PCN 1 (Fiji)

6N 4 (Scotland)
6N 5 (France)
6N 6 (Italy)
RC 3 (Australia)
RC 4 (Argentina)
ARC 1 (USA)

PCN 2 (Tonga)
PCN 3 (Georgia)
ARC 2 (Uruguay)
ARC 3 (Canada)
ERC 1 (Spain)
ERC 2 (Russia)

ARC 4 (Brazil)
ARC 5 (Chile)
ERC 3 (Romania)
ERC 4 (Belguim)
ERC 5 (Germany)

You'd have to make room for Japan too and Asia but it's a format that could be moved around the world and creates the opportunity for developing nations to progress and compete and could locked in for a number of years with position in annual competitions dictating entry level or could be open to promotion and relegation




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Post by quinsforever on Wed 13 Mar 2019, 11:47 pm

The 6Ns is a great, great rugby tournament. The SH one is just much less interesting, both from a competitive perspective, and a commercial one. Although competitive and commercial are probably linked!

NZ appear to have no problem remaining by far the best team in the world, by any measure. So i'm not sure why they "need" more money. their system appears to be working just fine.

There is however one glaring change that should be considered for the 6Ns. And that is relegation. I would LOVE to see Georgia step up. I really think, once they made it into the 6Ns, they would never look back. Would be a shame for Italy, but i think it would enhance the 6Ns immeasurably. And who knows, maybe a bit of relegation fear would help raise the bar for italy too.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 8:22 am

quinsforever wrote:The 6Ns is a great, great rugby tournament. The SH one is just much less interesting, both from a competitive perspective, and a commercial one. Although competitive and commercial are probably linked!

NZ appear to have no problem remaining by far the best team in the world, by any measure. So i'm not sure why they "need" more money. their system appears to be working just fine.

There is however one glaring change that should be considered for the 6Ns. And that is relegation. I would LOVE to see Georgia step up. I really think, once they made it into the 6Ns, they would never look back. Would be a shame for Italy, but i think it would enhance the 6Ns immeasurably. And who knows, maybe a bit of relegation fear would help raise the bar for italy too.

The problem with relegation is that everyone assumes we are looking at Italy alternating with Georgia for the wooden spoon every season. If one of the big five, especially a home nation went out the consequences for that nation and the competition itself could be catastrophic.

In terms of the national unions, relegation would probably have a major impact on their finances to the point of rendering some countries permanently uncompetitive (Scotland, Italy) and severely damage the game in the others.

In terms of the competition outside of hardcore rugby fans who would be interested in Italy v Georgia, none of the UK broadcasters would be even Sky would only have it as a time filler.

I'm all for developing the game but it has to be done organically, Italy came into the 6Ns on the back of both good performances in internationals and on the establishment of professional teams in the country and yes, on the basis that they would bring something financially to the party, when Georgia have beaten Wales, France or Ireland and have a couple of home based professional teams then they can join in.

The stupid World League concept appears to be a vehicle for keeping the AB's in the style to which they've become accustomed and not a lot more.

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 9:27 am

Correct Irish Londoner. Many people that now support the idea of Georgia and others being given more access within the Six Nations brand to succeed and 'grow' don't seem to make that natural logical connection to the idea that rugby in other Nations, most notably the smaller 'home' Nations, might go down through relegation and not go up again for a very long time. Now it's okay being philosophical about such a possibility now when the likelihood is that such a drop wouldn't happen for a decade or two...but it might happen quicker than that and in any case, we should all be interested in sustaining rugby well into the future in our own Nations.
The top in rugby can only genuinely cater for a handful of sides. Creating rugby players is more difficult than creating footballers - they can't play as often, they get more serious injuries more often. It's just not a game that can be 'always on' as football. So when people say they want to see smaller Nations grow ( and some very wealthy Nations and BIG Nations are part of that group) they are also saying they accept that some of the smaller Nations (Wales, Ireland, Samoa, Fiji etc) might fall away never to be seen again in any significant role.

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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 9:54 am

I think the problem is that the "the powers that be" don't understand that rugby is about as popular as it's going to get. There is literally nothing else to be squeezed out of it apart from selling it's soul to pay TV and CVC.
Yes there may be some (slow) organic growth in eastern Europe, Asia and north America but like cricket and rugby league it is where it is.

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 10:02 am

I thought they had said there would be a relegation/promotion play-off. As this would probably be played at the home of the "bigger" team the amount of actual relegation would be reduced.

It does seem that the proposals from WR have been sparked by the 6Ns starting "Project Light". Thus it rides roughshod over the 2017 San Francisco agreement to ensure that money can be re-allocated from NH to SH. To make it more palatable they claim it is helping the spread of rugby to second tier countries, while removing pretty much all the games these sides would play against Tier 1. Both the manoeuverings by 6Ns and WR is protectionism. 

If WR really wanted to spread the game they would look at the Nations League model that FIFA have used. Play the thing only in even years and have the Top 16 in 4 groups of 4 split by ranking and geography. The next 16 would be in another 4 groups split purely by geography:

Upper Tier:


Comprising - Ireland, Wales, England, Scotland, France, Georgia, Italy, USA; NZ, SA, Australia, Fiji, Argentina, Japan, Tonga, Uruguay

These teams would then be split into four seeding pools with each group taking one from each pool

Possible Groups:
Group 1: Ireland, USA, Fiji, Argentina
Group 2: Wales, Italy, Australia, Japan
Group 3: England, Georgia, SA, Tonga
Group 4: Scotland, France, NZ, Uruguay

Matches played during 6Ns/RC would count. Other fixtures would need to be made up during Summer or Autumn. Top teams would play semis and final, bottom teams would play against the top teams from the 17-32 section. Sure it would require some juggling. Of course it may not be as appealing as a Global Super 12, but it would meet the objective of making internationals relevant and giving opportunities to lower tier teams without messing up the existing tournaments.

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Post by Rugby Fan on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 10:18 am

Irish Londoner wrote:I think the problem is that the "the powers that be" don't understand that rugby is about as popular as it's going to get. There is literally nothing else to be squeezed out of it apart from selling it's soul to pay TV and CVC.
Rugby is bigger than it was, so I'm not sure we can safely say this is all it can do. American Football was pretty popular in America but college football became a behemoth when ESPN got behind it.

I genuinely don't know what will happen. My concern has always been that too much popularity depends on the success of national teams. You sometimes hear France and England mocked for failing to match the performances of unions with less money and fewer players, but it is a good thing for rugby that it has remained popular in those countries even though the teams have few cups and titles in recent years. The same isn't true in Australia right now, and a prolonged national slump could turn away fans in other rugby countries too, if they don't have teams with solid supporter bases below the Test teams.

I wonder sometimes about the wisdom of getting sevens into the Olympics. I enjoy the code more than most, and it is great to see teams outside the top ten in XVs competing at high levels. Still, sevens has now become so divorced from XVs, it is starting to compete with the longer code, rather than complement it. It means World Rugby has to fight on several fronts without being able to form a coherent whole.

It's not impossible other countries will take to rugby more than they do now. Britain is far more interested in cycling now than when I was young, so there's nothing set in stone about the popularity of any particular sport. Japan didn't really get behind football until the early 90s, and it's now a familar part of the sporting landscape. These kinds of changes do happen

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Post by Welshmushroom on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 2:54 pm

I don't get this proposal. Developing Nations has little to do with playing top opposition on a very limited basis at international level. They said this when Italy joined the 6 Nations. Its only now they are showing improvement due to their involvement in playing in the Pro 14.

The real reason they don't develop is due to the lack of professional leagues in world rugby. Given the new 5 year residency poaching rules on qualified players it's even harder for professional players outside of the big 7 nations to be awarded contracts. We are already seeing the Pro14 and Top 14 sides restrict foreigners in their leagues by making changes to their rules.

In truth if they really want to grow rugby professionally they need to look at the actual leagues first. From what I can tell the Pro14 is at least talking to the Georgians about expansion which will do far more good for them nationally by playing competitive week in week out professionally. Currently the majority of professional playing contracts for Tier 1 Leagues are held by players who already represent Tier 1 countries. There just are not the same opportunities for Tier 2 national players and even when they do get them are often with a view for them to become residentially qualified.

It does nobody any good having amateurs play professionals at international level. Getting 100 scores wracked up against the best teams in the world wont develop confidence. It will make things worse for those teams in the long term as at some stage their best players wont bother turning up to play at all.

I think this general proposal will just hurt international rugby and more importantly the World Cup. If we have a annual tournament to establish the best team in the world then why exactly play a world cup every 4 years.

To be honest it would make more sense to host a European type national cup and include the likes of Romania, Georgia etc during the same years the British and Irish Tours are scheduled for. At least Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England would lose some of their best players to the Lions which would give the lesser sides a chance.

Personally I think this proposal devalues international rugby and is only on the table because Australia, South Africa & New Zealand want to increase their revenues by using the northern Hemisphere sides to do it.

For once I actually hope the Top 14 and Aviva Prem do manage to interfere and stop this proposal.






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Post by Irish Londoner on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 3:44 pm

100% agree. Although why does it always seem to fall on the PRO14 to have to take in the waifs and strays of European rugby?

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Post by Exiledinborders on Thu 14 Mar 2019, 4:25 pm

Welshmushroom wrote:I don't get this proposal.  Developing Nations has little to do with playing top opposition on a very limited basis at international level.  They said this when Italy joined the 6 Nations.  Its only now they are showing improvement due to their involvement in playing in the Pro 14.

The real reason they don't develop is due to the lack of professional leagues in world rugby.  Given the new 5 year residency poaching rules on qualified players it's even harder for professional players outside of the big 7 nations to be awarded contracts.  We are already seeing the Pro14 and Top 14 sides restrict foreigners in their leagues by making changes to their rules.  

Surely the five year residence rule just stops them playing for their new country of residence. If anything it makes it more likely that professional players from outside of the big 7 nations to be awarded a contract. If a player from Samoa say has been in the UK for three years then previously they could be picked by England now they cannot. Top quality players who are available to their club all season are at a premium.

As for the limits on foreigners in Pro14 and Top14 they are likely to be of limited impact as they cannot apply to Kolpak countries from where the majority come.
Welshmushroom wrote:
In truth if they really want to grow rugby professionally they need to look at the actual leagues first.  From what I can tell the Pro14 is at least talking to the Georgians about expansion which will do far more good for them nationally by playing competitive week in week out professionally.  Currently the majority of professional playing contracts for Tier 1 Leagues are held by players who already represent Tier 1 countries.  There just are not the same opportunities for Tier 2 national players and even when they do get them are often with a view for them to become residentially qualified.  

It would be very undesirable if it was different. I would not like to see us going the way of football with Premier League teams made up mainly of non English players. A second tier of the Pro14 with promotion and relegation might be the answer.  
Welshmushroom wrote:
It does nobody any good having amateurs play professionals at international level.  Getting 100 scores wracked up against the best teams in the world wont develop confidence.  It will make things worse for those teams in the long term as at some stage their best players wont bother turning up to play at all.

I agree. Such matches are no good for either side and are boring to watch.
Welshmushroom wrote:
I think this general proposal will just hurt international rugby and more importantly the World Cup.  If we have a annual tournament to establish the best team in the world then why exactly play a world cup every 4 years.

To be honest it would make more sense to host a European type national cup and include the likes of Romania, Georgia etc during the same years the British and Irish Tours are scheduled for.  At least Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England would lose some of their best players to the Lions which would give the lesser sides a chance.

I agree. The Lions year is a great opportunity for Lions nations to be involved in a tournament with Tier two countries.
Welshmushroom wrote:
Personally I think this proposal devalues international rugby and is only on the table because Australia, South Africa & New Zealand want to increase their revenues by using the northern Hemisphere sides to do it.  

For once I actually hope the Top 14 and Aviva Prem do manage to interfere and stop this proposal.  
Agreed. For too long Rugby has been dancing to the tune of the Sanzar countries. In addition to this latest nonsense, we been subjected to an endless series of rule changes all of which have been designed to persuade spectators in the SH, particularly Australia to watch. It has done no good. Australians apparently don't like Rugby and want to watch League instead. Turning Rugby into a fifteen man version of league will not solve the problem.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 12:52 pm

I'm loving the Lions years Tournament

You'll have folk saying it "devalues" the lions teats, but poo to them I say.

Lions vs SANZAR in July. Absolutely no need for the warm up games against the club teams of the country now. If the lions are in SA, then play warm ups against Namibia and Kenya. Playing NZ or Oz, play against Tonga, Fiji, Samoa.

Then have a wee mini Tournament for Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales to play two games against any of Japan, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga. Take it in turns.

Argentina, France Italy and Georgia can then have a mini Tournament in the Americas for them along with Canada, The US, Uruguay and Spain or Chile
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Post by robbo277 on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 1:59 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:
quinsforever wrote:The 6Ns is a great, great rugby tournament. The SH one is just much less interesting, both from a competitive perspective, and a commercial one. Although competitive and commercial are probably linked!

NZ appear to have no problem remaining by far the best team in the world, by any measure. So i'm not sure why they "need" more money. their system appears to be working just fine.

There is however one glaring change that should be considered for the 6Ns. And that is relegation. I would LOVE to see Georgia step up. I really think, once they made it into the 6Ns, they would never look back. Would be a shame for Italy, but i think it would enhance the 6Ns immeasurably. And who knows, maybe a bit of relegation fear would help raise the bar for italy too.

The problem with relegation is that everyone assumes we are looking at Italy alternating with Georgia for the wooden spoon every season. If one of the big five, especially a home nation went out the consequences for that nation and the competition itself could be catastrophic.

In terms of the national unions, relegation would probably have a major impact on their finances to the point of rendering some countries permanently uncompetitive (Scotland, Italy) and severely damage the game in the others.

In terms of the competition outside of hardcore rugby fans who would be interested in Italy v Georgia, none of the UK broadcasters would be even Sky would only have it as a time filler.

I'm all for developing the game but it has to be done organically, Italy came into the 6Ns on the back of both good performances in internationals and on the establishment of professional teams in the country and yes, on the basis that they would bring something financially to the party, when Georgia have beaten Wales, France or Ireland and have a couple of home based professional teams then they can join in.

The stupid World League concept appears to be a vehicle for keeping the AB's in the style to which they've  become accustomed and not a lot more.

So Scotland and Italy should keep their uneven playing field because if the playing field was levelled then they would find their natural level is lower?

I would prefer relegation to the current situation. But if they want to grow the game then they need to increase the number of seats at the top table. That means either a conferenced 8 nations or try to elevate existing Tier 2 competitions to Tier 1 level. The way to do that would be to give them an equivalency. Don't have the winner of the REC play the loser of the Six Nations to see who the 6th best team in Europe is, have the winner of the REC play the winner of the Six Nations to see who the best team in Europe is. Have the winner of the the Bledisloe play the winner of the Pacific Cup to determine who is the best team in Asia/Oceania. Have Argentina play the winner of the Americas Rugby Championship (assuming it's not their 'A' XV), have South Africa play the winner of the African Rugby Championship. You have all those 4 games on the same weekend before the November internationals kick off and you cna make it a global TV event and possibly play the 4 games in "marquee" locations.

It doesn't matter if the Tier 1 team don't go in with their strongest team, if they're capped international matches with a trophy on the line then it'll have an impact. There's already a trophy at the end of each International game anyway, may as well get some in that can have an attributed meaning, not just the So-and-So Shield.

This will replace one of the Autumn games for the competing country so won't affect the total amount of rugby played.

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Post by tigertattie on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 3:03 pm

Sorry robbo but that idea wouldnt pan out.

You'd have England/Wales/Ireland/France (whoever is on form and therefore winning the A conference) just spanking either Italy or Scotland every year. Relegation is the way and it will force nations to improve or they drop out.

If the 6 Nations did move to this we could see Georgia being a permanent member at the top table while Italy could go bouncing up and down with Scotland also at risk (or any of the other teams to be fair)
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Post by SecretFly on Fri 15 Mar 2019, 3:36 pm

England won't be bouncing up and down in any relegation battles. They're mostly always well enough manned to keep away from the bottom. That's why for them, and some others, it's only something they have to pay lip service to. But the Nations that might really hit a few years of low form, go down and maybe never get back up - such is the fragility of structure plus funding - are the ones that should be giving serious consideration to long term objectives for rugby in their own Nations.
Some might call relegation fair but I just call it potentially getting rid of some nice little rugby strongholds for the sake of giving a leg up to sides with potentially more of a population to market to and who then also have enough potential funding to stay up and never worry too much about Ireland, Wales or Scotland coming back up.
If that scenario happened, then we'd be back to the idea that 'smaller' Nations need to be let in to play the big boys more often. Round and round it goes. Though I guess that next time such cries happen in the dark, not many if the then big boys would be listening too much: "Wales wants to get more opportunities to play us and improve their players through experience of Tier 1? What a bloody laugh. Sure they only have about 3 million people. We're not going to drop Romania with about 20 million TV watchers. It doesn't make economic sense."

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu 03 Oct 2019, 8:03 pm

After watching the skill and ability of the lesser played tier two nations I am starting to believe that the World League idea was very much the way forward for Rugby Union as a sport.

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Post by Taylorman on Thu 03 Oct 2019, 10:52 pm

maestegmafia wrote:After watching the skill and ability of the lesser played tier two nations I am starting to believe that the World League idea was very much the way forward for Rugby Union as a sport.

Same here.

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Post by miaow on Thu 03 Oct 2019, 11:29 pm

maestegmafia wrote:After watching the skill and ability of the lesser played tier two nations I am starting to believe that the World League idea was very much the way forward for Rugby Union as a sport.

It's what makes RWCs special. The smaller teams throw everything in to it and play above themselves. No way would you see this repeated every year. Japan woul go backwards very quickly if they joined the RC.

There's a place for having a global season, and then I think the obvious change is something incorporating the Lions Tour to effectively be like the midway point betwen WCs for all teams. Yeah, have development tours, but I can't see the Lions sticking to just the 3 old SANZAR teams on repeat. The BaBas have a slice of the action, soon it'll be Argentina and Japan in warm up games as wel. There's a case of looking at realigning something there to make it more of a festival of rugby culminating with the 3 test series.

A World League sounds cheap and artificial - and very American.

It's going to happen, but it'll be the death of the World Cup and Six Nations as it was, sadly. And maybe inadvertently lead to the club game becoming the pinnacle of the sport, as club owners in France clearly want it to be.

You can't grow the game artificially. It takes a long, long time to produce rugby infrastructure. It's not soccer.

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Post by Brendan on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 12:45 am

miaow wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:After watching the skill and ability of the lesser played tier two nations I am starting to believe that the World League idea was very much the way forward for Rugby Union as a sport.

It's what makes RWCs special. The smaller teams throw everything in to it and play above themselves. No way would you see this repeated every year. Japan woul go backwards very quickly if they joined the RC.

There's a place for having a global season, and then I think the obvious change is something incorporating the Lions Tour to effectively be like the midway point betwen WCs for all teams. Yeah, have development tours, but I can't see the Lions sticking to just the 3 old SANZAR teams on repeat. The BaBas have a slice of the action, soon it'll be Argentina and Japan in warm up games as wel. There's a case of looking at realigning something there to make it more of a festival of rugby culminating with the 3 test series.

A World League sounds cheap and artificial - and very American.

It's going to happen, but it'll be the death of the World Cup and Six Nations as it was, sadly. And maybe inadvertently lead to the club game becoming the pinnacle of the sport, as club  owners in France clearly want it to be.

You can't grow the game artificially. It takes a long, long time to produce rugby infrastructure. It's not soccer.

No T2 teams were in favour of the World League except the two teams who would get into a 6 team RC. They viewed it as a way for T1 nations to never have to play them except at WCs which they felt would be devalued.  What the T2 nations want is WR to work for everyone not just the top teams. At u20 Georgia have cemented their place as one of the top 12 teams, How do you think they would have felt with no T1 games for 10 years at senior level even though they are improving at underage. Or Urugary who have been improving over the last 5 years where they are challenging the USA for top T2 American side.  Or Spain who have recently set up a professional league.

For the u20s top tier you have 12 teams, the second tier is only 8 teams which is the host, the relegated team and then the top team from each of the 6 regions N. America, S. America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Fiji (11) and Georgia (10) are in the top tier along with Japan for 2020
So N America either USA or Canada miss out
Europe you have Portugal who were 2pt away from being promoted instead of Japan this year. If Scotland don't go back up then they would need to qualify.
Oceania only has either Tonga or Samoa, if Fiji have 2 bad years it could be only one of three.

Surely WR needs to go back to either 16 teams for the first tier of u20s or bring the second tier up to 12 teams so that countries can grow at underage so would be better later at senior level.  On current form Europe could end up with 8 teams in the top tier out of 12 with two in the second tier in a few years while the PIs would have gone from 4 in total at the start down to 1.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 7:49 am

Brendan wrote:
miaow wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:After watching the skill and ability of the lesser played tier two nations I am starting to believe that the World League idea was very much the way forward for Rugby Union as a sport.

It's what makes RWCs special. The smaller teams throw everything in to it and play above themselves. No way would you see this repeated every year. Japan woul go backwards very quickly if they joined the RC.

There's a place for having a global season, and then I think the obvious change is something incorporating the Lions Tour to effectively be like the midway point betwen WCs for all teams. Yeah, have development tours, but I can't see the Lions sticking to just the 3 old SANZAR teams on repeat. The BaBas have a slice of the action, soon it'll be Argentina and Japan in warm up games as wel. There's a case of looking at realigning something there to make it more of a festival of rugby culminating with the 3 test series.

A World League sounds cheap and artificial - and very American.

It's going to happen, but it'll be the death of the World Cup and Six Nations as it was, sadly. And maybe inadvertently lead to the club game becoming the pinnacle of the sport, as club  owners in France clearly want it to be.

You can't grow the game artificially. It takes a long, long time to produce rugby infrastructure. It's not soccer.

No T2 teams were in favour of the World League except the two teams who would get into a 6 team RC. They viewed it as a way for T1 nations to never have to play them except at WCs which they felt would be devalued.  What the T2 nations want is WR to work for everyone not just the top teams. At u20 Georgia have cemented their place as one of the top 12 teams, How do you think they would have felt with no T1 games for 10 years at senior level even though they are improving at underage. Or Urugary who have been improving over the last 5 years where they are challenging the USA for top T2 American side.  Or Spain who have recently set up a professional league.

For the u20s top tier you have 12 teams, the second tier is only 8 teams which is the host, the relegated team and then the top team from each of the 6 regions N. America, S. America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Fiji (11) and Georgia (10) are in the top tier along with Japan for 2020
So N America either USA or Canada miss out
Europe you have Portugal who were 2pt away from being promoted instead of Japan this year. If Scotland don't go back up then they would need to qualify.
Oceania only has either Tonga or Samoa, if Fiji have 2 bad years it could be only one of three.

Surely WR needs to go back to either 16 teams for the first tier of u20s or bring the second tier up to 12 teams so that countries can grow at underage so would be better later at senior level.  On current form Europe could end up with 8 teams in the top tier out of 12 with two in the second tier in a few years while the PIs would have gone from 4 in total at the start down to 1.


We certainly need teams like Russia and Uruguay to be playing teams at a higher level far more regularly.

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 11:14 am

If we have 8 worthwhile Tier 1 teams and 2 (Argentina and Italy) that are in there and very much still work in progress, who is meant to play Japan, Georgia, Uruguay, etc? You have the June/November windows but it's important these remain commercially viable and you can't just have Tier 1 vs Tier 2.

I've swung on this debate and instead of trying to shoehorn other teams into existing structures I think it's important that World Rugby push the Tier 2 competitions that are already played. The REC winner should play the Six Nations winner, the winner of the PNC should play the Rugby Championship winner. Then over time you turn it into a conference system rather than a Div 2 situation. Then you've turned 10 Tier 1 positions into 20, rather than 10 into 12 or just 10 into a different 10.

As above, this is a slow process. It's not a 5 year plan, probably more a 25 year plan.

And if your serious about pushing Tier 2 rugby, you have to tighten the eligibility to ensure the best Tier 2 players play for their home countries and also distribute money from Tier 1 nations to Tier 2 nations.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 1:49 pm

maestegmafia wrote:



We certainly need teams like Russia and Uruguay to be playing teams at a higher level far more regularly.

I believe Russia only qualified because the 3 teams who finished above them in the European Competition that was used for qualification were disqualified? Russia play teams better than them every year.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 2:15 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:



We certainly need teams like Russia and Uruguay to be playing teams at a higher level far more regularly.

I believe Russia only qualified because the 3 teams who finished above them in the European Competition that was used for qualification were disqualified? Russia play teams better than them every year.

They are a good team though. Playing some good rugby. It shows the quality of the game outside the top tier to see how well these teams play.

If World rugby can find ways to grow the game we should.

Our biggest problem has always been that when Wales play a five nations or tri nations team it’s a sell out at home, not so for Wales against Argentina or Italy let alone the rest and even less so for the games against Russians, Georgians, Spanish etc who make up the European championship below the six nations.

I hope that this RWC shows us fans that tickets to see England vs Japan, Ireland vs Georgia or Scotland vs Moldova are still going to be great games.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 2:46 pm

But they won't be, necessarily.

What happens in WCs is that Tier 2 sides can often get in expertise on the coaching front that is not always available to them at other times....plus they get to be together longer in the run in to a WC, something that also isn't so normal in normal years..... plus, it's a World Cup and these sides really want to make an all out impression when the biggest viewing World audience is in them.  As Russia said before and after their game against Ireland, they just wanted to prove they could fight, to bring a certain pride to and respect for their Nation.

So the WC concentrates minds and effort and increases outside assistance for these 'minnow' sides.  Would a Scotland v Moldova game in a NH Autumn really be a big crowd seller, and would it really be a close fought contest in Murrayfield?

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 4:13 pm

Fly

It might be closer than you think, but Moldova should have enough in the tank to squeeze home in that scenario.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 4:21 pm

Ouch! I'm outta here quick before the Scottish lads turn up! Run

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Post by Irish Londoner on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 4:22 pm

maestegmafia wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:
maestegmafia wrote:



We certainly need teams like Russia and Uruguay to be playing teams at a higher level far more regularly.

I believe Russia only qualified because the 3 teams who finished above them in the European Competition that was used for qualification were disqualified? Russia play teams better than them every year.

They are a good team though. Playing some good rugby. It shows the quality of the game outside the top tier to see how well these teams play.

If World rugby can find ways to grow the game we should.

Our biggest problem has always been that when Wales play a five nations or tri nations team it’s a sell out at home, not so for Wales against Argentina or Italy let alone the rest and even less so for the games against Russians, Georgians, Spanish etc who make up the European championship below the six nations.

I hope that this RWC shows us fans that tickets to see England vs Japan, Ireland vs Georgia or Scotland vs Moldova are still going to be great games.

The games against T2 nations would be a great chance to get the home team on the road - Ireland could play Georgia at Ravenhill or Thomond, England could play Russia in Leeds, Birmingham or Manchester, Wales could play in Newport or Swansea etc.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 4:31 pm

Ireland playing Georgia in Thomond? The local crowd would wear Georgia shirts just to pizz off the Dublin 4 IRFU suit types.

It'd be f**kin' tribal war. Georgia would have slipped away quietly with their 42 - 3 win in the bag and the majority of the crowd wouldn't even know. Bloodbath. Desist from such ideas this instant.

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Post by miaow on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 5:43 pm

There's perhaps a case to be made for 'A' teams playing the

As I said, you can't 'create' something in a short space of time - you just have to grow it. And the ideas of exponential growth in emerging markets is naive.

Look at the impact Japan's national success has had relative to Argentina's failure. That's a good starting point. Consider how rugby will explode in the US if/when the US national team wins 'something', like it did with soccer-fus-ball in 2014.

The US is the model everyone builds everything on - basically, subscription and TV time, the paraphernalia of the sport, and commercialised, corporate, consumptive watching of sport, with the money filtering down on growing the grassroots. Frankly, that model only works in the US, and as mentioned elsewhere, taking rugby away from terrestrial TV would be devastating for it in the UK.

I can quite clearly see scope for that US cup they used to play 10 years ago - Saxons and Wolfhounds were in it?

And, again, the point I'd make would be to 'extend' the Lions Summer and use it as global showpiece that isn't just 4 Home Nations + 1 SANZAR.

The Home Nations currently go on development tours in Lions summers anyway. Maybe less so Scotland.

There is huge, huge scope to have some kind of tournament or system whereby you're not stealing the thunder of the WC, but you're giving competitive games to these T2 teams, all while the European teams are encouraged to compete with their best of the rest. Maybe you can include someone like the NZ Maori, or emerging players from Oz and SA as well. Or maybe not. It's up for debate.

I wouldn't have it built like a WC - I'm not sure how you'd structure it - but if you're playing each other each year, not only does it become hard to build for the likes of Georgia or whoever, but the novelty wears off. As Fly and others say, teams raise their games at WCs. Japan were preparing for 2 years.

With this, it's no longer a yearly thing - but it also breaks up the 4 year cycle rugby is getting stuck in, of hiring and firing and planning a bit too rigidly. There's scope for a tournament 2 years out from a WC, where the A Teams will play the T2 teams, and it's not just arbitrary friendlies decided by bidding.

The issue with this, of course, is that most teams now nominate A teams as their second team, don't use them, and then use that to cap/play non-homegrown or even homegrown talent, so they're not registered and bound to that nation. Wales do it, so players can play u20s but still get contracts in England. Sadly, that's the kicker as I see it - club rugby still too powerful, still the bread and butter financially, and still too much money in it.

But I'd love to see a 2 year tournament. What did Sctotland do in SA a few years ago? Played Samoa and SA in a round robin thing? Was that...2014? Can't even remember. 2013? Lions year? Something like that, but bigger, and perhaps with a 7s style cup/bowl/plate tournament where you're getting at least 3-4 games in over that summer would benefit the T2 nations in a far better way than arbitrarily drawing the lines as they have done in current proposal.

The issue is the global season. Are we having it, are we not. Then you worry about everything else from there.

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Post by Brendan on Fri 04 Oct 2019, 11:04 pm

I think the 2 years before the WC there should be a T2 tournament for those who don't automatically qualify. And add in another 8 teams either based on rankings or regions.
4 groups of 4 and all the quarter finalist get a spot at the next WC
It would mean the teams get meaningful competition. The world league would actually be great for T2 but not sure the funding is there to sustain it (WR to busy giving money to OZ/NZ for WC years)
The winner or top 2/4 could win a prize of 7 T1 matches the year before the WC, that would be the real prize.

Americas - USA, Uruguay, Canada, Brazil
Africa - Namibia, Kenya
Pacific/Asia - Samoa, Tonga, Hong Kong, Korea/Cook Islands
Europe - Georgia, Rominia, Spain, Russia, Belgium, Germany/Portugal.

Means best teams get through and also give much more meaningful preparation.

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