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Post by Dirtydave on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 7:36 am

Heading into the final this weekend (congrats and good luck to both england and South Africa), I was having a chat about the RWC 2019 with a work colleague, and he was voicing his displeasure at the tournament.

He made some valid points, 5/6/7/8am kick offs were a slog, there were constant referee controversies, cancellation of games, and very few tense ding dongs etc...

He blames world rugby for a poor tournament, and I'll probably get grief from England fans loving it (winning helps the enjoyment obviously) but I found myself agreeing with him largely.

When compared to 4 years ago, this tournament feels drab! Very few games have been tense, very few lower tier teams have threatened anything more than a stiff challenge, and the only excitement we've seen from a neutrals point of view is Japan securing a quarter, and a small number of tense tight games (mostly involving Wales)

Does anyone agree?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 7:44 am

Nope.

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Post by Poorfour on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 7:51 am

Personally, I’ve loved it.

I’ve loved being able to wake up early on a weekend morning and watch a game on the iPad before getting up. I’ve loved the way the Japanese crowd have got behind all the teams. 

If there haven’t been as many upsets as we might have expected, I think that reflects the gulf in resources and access to top competition between the Tier 1 and Tier 2 nations, and not the tournament itself. And in any case, Japan’s overturning of Ireland and Scotland were arguably the most significant upsets in the history of the RWC and (with their performance in 2015) have made a strong case for global reform of the game.

That Typhoon Hagibis caused disruption to the tournament as well as devastation and loss of life is unfortunate, but it was an extreme event and the one decisive match that faced disruption got played in the end.

I think there has been far less refereeing controversy than in earlier world cups - we are griping the same amount, but the only clearly wrong decision that might have affected the outcome of a game was the failure to give Reece Hodge a red card. I don’t think anyone can claim that they were knocked out of the RWC by a missed forward pass or an inexplicable failure to spot an entire front row dancing like a chorus line.

Of course for me it’s enhanced by England doing well, though I think it’s been a wonderful tournament regardless and in Japan/Scotland and England/New Zealand it’s offered up two of rugby’s great matches.

But ultimately, there are no bad RWCs. It only happens every 4 years, and it has to serve a global audience so we put up with the timings and enjoy the spectacle. I don’t see any point in griping about a tournament that has been great for raising the profile of rugby in new areas.
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Post by robbo277 on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 7:55 am

Well the solution to fewer tense games would be to put 3 top 5 ranked teams in the same pool (with Fiji ranked 8th as the fourth seed), but that would hardly be fair. It's a good thing they've fixed that issue.

They need to keep pushing Tier 2 to create more jeopardy in the pool stages. It was only the top 3 in each pool that were even kind of in contention, and in Pool B it was only the top 2 really.

I've enjoyed this tournament. Japan had a fantastic pool stage, England were efficient and Fiji were always entertaining to watch. I'm not sure what else this tournament would have delivered to reach 2015 level. As above, Pool A was ultimately an error and World Rugby can't contrive games like Japan vs South Africa every tournament. Other than Pool A and the Japan game, every pool game went with form (you could probably argue Georgia over Tonga or Japan over Samoa either way).

Let's not also forget, Russia (the worst team at this world cup) were a default selection (should have been Romania) and Canada (the second worst team) could have been at least challenged by Spain for that repechage place. That has hurt the quality slightly, creating a couple of extra blowouts.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 8:15 am

Kick off times: Moaning about this, imo, is pathetic. This is meant to be a global game so there will be kick offs in ALL tournaments that are at bad times for some parts of the world.

Refereeing Controversies: No more or less than any other tournament that has wall to wall coverage.

Cancelled Games: World Rugby did drop the ball in not having suitable alternative arrangements in place, even if the once in a generation storm would have made most contingencies unworkable. 2015 could have (and 2023 might be) affected by terrorist activity.

Most reporters (talking non-English) have stated this is the best RWC they have been too. This includes people who have covered all since 87. I can believe it.

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Post by Afro on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 9:06 am

I think its been a good tournament and I love the way the Japanese support have embraced the whole thing. Has really got me looking forward to a great Olympics next summer.

The cancelled games could have happened anywhere and any time. The earthquake in NZ could have happened during the 2011 tournament and forced games to be cancelled. World Rugby had a plan which has been in place for 30 years and stuck to it. Its not to all tastes, but perspective needs to be put on that.

80+ people died, some are still missing, yet Japan managed to keep the tournament going, got right behind their side and the only cost was a few matches
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Post by Scottrf on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 9:22 am

Exactly, 86 (94) deaths and some are still using it to downplay England's achievements.

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Post by Rinsure on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 9:23 am

I agree with everyone disagreeing with the OP.

Early kick-offs (for European viewers) are a fact of life in a global game, and we get them with Lions tours as well as RWCs, so it's nothing new. Like a poster above, I have enjoyed - particularly in the pool stages - waking up to a game, followed by another game... and so on. That said, I'm looking forward to the first lie-in for ages on Sunday (hopefully nursing a celebratory hangover...).

Japan could not have been better hosts, supporting every team, every training session, and being exemplary in their treatment of every team. Cancelling the games due to the storm was the right decision, as is the respect given at the start of every subsequent game to those affected - in some cases tragically - by it.

The rugby has been excellent, by and large. There is scope to improve the competitiveness of the groups, but that is a long-term project for World Rugby, and I don't think (from memory) there have been any more blow-outs at this RWC than any others.

Regardless of the result on Saturday, it has been a successful championship.

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Post by Afro on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 9:26 am

Rinsure wrote:I don't think (from memory) there have been any more blow-outs at this RWC than any others.


I'd say much less. The big wins feel like they were by a far smaller margin than in the past and that the lower Tier nations are edging closer
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Post by bsando on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 9:46 am

I think the Rugby World Cup 2019 has been a fantastic success in Japan itself. However, I think there have been several issues..

- Cancelled games: This was a unique situation and in the end a tragic one for those who lost their lives, however, I think World Rugby should have made a better contingency plan to begin with.

- IMG Online Copyright Infringements: Two Rugby Youtubers (Squidge Rugby and Glove39 (an ex-606er) have run into huge problems with copyright infringement while trying to post RWC related videos and analysis on games. I feel particularly for Squidge as he travelled to Japan for the tournament and within days of releasing his first few videos essentially had his Youtube account shutdown by Lawyers in New York. After moving to Vimeo IMG suspended videos there too.
Glove39 had his Twitter account suspended recently and listed all the posts that had come under fire via a new twitter account he setup, some were ridiculous claims of copyright infringement. Considering how big social media and online content are now it's a real f**k up. World Rugby need to review this in my opinion so fans and rugby enthusiasts can create content for fans and ultimately the benefit of the game.

- Tier 2 and 3 nations: Canada, Russia, Georgia, The Islanders etc. It's sad that we're not seeing an improvement and infact a lot of regression. Japan did very well but the RWC showed that the gap is definitely widening between the top 4 sides and those who sit in 16-20th. I'd really like to see more investment for Tier 2/3 sides or a progressive plan for improving these sides. There are some encouraging signs but still a lot to be done.

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Post by Rinsure on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 9:47 am

Afro wrote:
Rinsure wrote:I don't think (from memory) there have been any more blow-outs at this RWC than any others.


I'd say much less. The big wins feel like they were by a far smaller margin than in the past and that the lower Tier nations are edging closer

I can't substantiate this right now, but I seem to recall reading that we were deeper into this RWC than any other before one team put a score of 50+ on their opponent. Could be wrong, not in a position to check right now, but if I am right then it would support your assertion Smile


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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 10:04 am

Japan beat two tier 1 nations including a top 4. Number 1 ranked team gets knocked out in the semi's.  Both Wales knock out games decided in the dying minutes and they have to come from behind late to beat Fiji. South Africa exceed their world ranking to be a dark horse making the final. Australia get off to a flyer against England and leave a shock on the cards till 20 minutes. Scotland even worse than expected. 

The England France game would've been nice to have but really wasnt ever likely to be close. Argentina were a disappointment. Thats about it really. The pool stages have always been a joke in RWCs and talk of expanding further is laughable.  As it was we had one group that wa sall ove rthe place, and the missed games had no impact at all on who qualified.

The level of controversy at this one was no greater than that at others. Everyone seems to have forgotten the endless hoohaa about ball pressures at 2011. There was a lot of hot air about rhigh tackles from Australia, but not the same level of bile that was spouted about tip tackles when they first got enforced properly. People also seem to forget Samoa nearly got chucked out of that one because the board was stealing the IRB cash. 

We have seen England set a new standard for NH rugby in terms of speed of play in attack and defence and reap the benefits. Theres been some sparkling play and none of the games decided on truly controversial referee decisions despite some criticism of officials.  No dodgy stomachs, no Wayne Barnes 2007 moments. 

Its been a pretty successful world cup so far IMO

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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 2:56 pm

Hard to blame WR for the weather, but you can guarantee there will be some long, hard planning going in to never, ever cancelling games again. That's the major stain on the tournament and why it doesn't feel as good as any other that I've followed since 1999.

Kick off times are much better than NZ. On par with Oz I think, no? Maybe a bit better? Some have been 11am as well. One thing I will say - catch up service. I watched a lot of the group games like that so I could bash through a game in about 20-30 minutes, skipping stoppages, scrum resets, pundits etc. and not wasting time/getting caught shirking. I feel like kick off times barely matter - all the knockouts were of 'waking' times on the weekend, not 4am or 6am, when you really don't want to be watching rugby. The final is 9am, in NZ it was 6am I think? Big difference - this way Oz/NZ also gets a better deal as well with evening k/offs. Seems fair enough to me.

Other issues:

- Also the weather
Not the rain, but the humidity. Teams look knackered and I feel the standard of play dropped off dramatically after the first fortnight as a result of the players/teams being shattered. Yes, this always happens, but it's basically occurred across the board - apart from the two finalists. The two finalists are the only teams to play it slow during the opening rounds, to put the opposition away with minimal fuss, but also without overplaying and over-runnning the ball. Even NZ might have been guilty of that. I think the fatigue and the heat got to players more than they expected, and given that training is very specific to 'peak' within a certain tempo and intensity, I think standards of the knockouts have by and large been pretty poor. The one team to obviously avoid that other than Japan? England - coached by the former Japan coach, who knew what was coming and played a blinder.

- Too commercial
This is just a passing aside, but rugby feels like it's losing its heart a bit. Too media driven, too football-lite in many ways. I preferred it when fewer people cared - now lots of people pretend to care. That also impacts things like ref chat/criticism. I hate the way the 'culture' of rugby has become fair game and both watered down and infantalised to make it commercially available. But what can you do. This was always going to happen.

- The state of the game
Again, there has been a big drop off in standards from the two opening rounds that isn't just weather. I feel teams flagged as they're just over worked and the standards are going up and up, hurting the smaller teams as much as anything, who really overperformed this tournament. But the very peak of standards...it's not been that great. When you add in the 'cyclical' nature of rugby at the moment, where everything - coaches being hired, players moving countries, plans to restructure the game - revolves around the RWC, there's a danger that if standards of 'spectator rugby' continue to fall (NZ and England were good tournaments) then the club game might overtake international rugby. The other aspect is that some clubs - i.e. not the rich ones - are hampered by this 4 year cycle, and 'is this it'? Dunno, just preferred when the WC was less of a big deal in the rugby calendar compared to clubs and 6Ns, yet also...it tended to over deliver because of that. 2011 and 2015 were better standards of rugby, I think, in terms of a spectacle, with honourable mention to Japan. Even NZ and England - the two best performers so far - have only had 1 world class game each, and that's another issue: teams are scraping by just to survive, because they just cannot back up and go again week on week. There's a case to be made for bigger squads, for sure. You say that would hurt the little teams - but then the big teams tend to play a lot more rugby by reaching the knockouts with the same number of players. The whole thing needs a bit of a rethink, I feel, in some regards. Because standards of play have been all over the place, and injuries in the latter stages mounted up for teams, Wales in particular, which is a sign of all of the above.


I'd like to see it in Ireland asap - imagine the drinking... - and also if/when the US and Canada deserve it. Otherwise, South America might be an interesting site to look in to with Argentina and Uruguay in the medium term.

I don't think this tournament has been a failure, but I don't feel like it's been a huge success. The big one is the big one, but I feel it would be good going back to watching rugby be played in much more rugby-friendly climates and on proper rugby pitches as well. The stadia feel a bit...dead...and of course the weather clearly hurt most teams: not just the Europeans, who knows if Fiji might have pulled off a shock had they not tired?

England in 2015 backing up from the different, but equally special, vibe of NZ in 2011 spoiled us I think. They were great tournaments.

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Post by Afro on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 2:59 pm

Was there a Rugby World Cup in England in 2015? Can't remember that one....
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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:02 pm

Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:03 pm

Not sure how you can describe this World Cup as too commercial when compared to 2015. Only seen this one on TV, rather than being at some games as in 2015, but the crowds looked much more lively than in 2015.

If I remember rightly too 2015 was criticised for having too many matches at Football Grounds. Watching any tournament on TV is never the same as being there, but certainly 2015 did not seem to excite the entire host nation (even before the hosts departure) as 2019 has.


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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:04 pm

Afro wrote:Was there a Rugby World Cup in England in 2015? Can't remember that one....

Yes but all the games after the second round of pool matches were invalid  Whistle

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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:07 pm

I also think it would be very, very different if you were out there. Japan seems like a cool, yet slightly otherworldly place, and that's rarely experienced in rugby. I imagine that might sway it if I were out there on expenses...!

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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:08 pm

Gooseberry wrote:Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

By the humidity, yes.

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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:10 pm

LondonTiger wrote:Not sure how you can describe this World Cup as too commercial when compared to 2015. Only seen this one on TV, rather than being at some games as in 2015, but the crowds looked much more lively than in 2015.

If I remember rightly too 2015 was criticised for having too many matches at Football Grounds. Watching any tournament on TV is never the same as being there, but certainly 2015 did not seem to excite the entire host nation (even before the hosts departure) as 2019 has.


It's all the peripheral stuff. There are about 40 rugby podcasts these days. There's youtube shows. There's a much more 'aligned' social media presence. It's a lot more up front and...clickbaity...than 4 years ago. So there's that. And it attracts, well...everyone, new fans, people who know f all. Really trying to 'sell' the tournament. In terms of stadia it's hard to say, obviously. But I didn't just mean corporate boxes. Just that rugby itself is becoming hard to avoid and it sort of ruins it a bit.

Think we'll disagree about 2015.

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:13 pm

miaow wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Not sure how you can describe this World Cup as too commercial when compared to 2015. Only seen this one on TV, rather than being at some games as in 2015, but the crowds looked much more lively than in 2015.

If I remember rightly too 2015 was criticised for having too many matches at Football Grounds. Watching any tournament on TV is never the same as being there, but certainly 2015 did not seem to excite the entire host nation (even before the hosts departure) as 2019 has.


It's all the peripheral stuff. There are about 40 rugby podcasts these days. There's youtube shows. There's a much more 'aligned' social media presence. It's a lot more up front and...clickbaity...than 4 years ago. So there's that. And it attracts, well...everyone, new fans, people who know f all. Really trying to 'sell' the tournament. In terms of stadia it's hard to say, obviously. But I didn't just mean corporate boxes. Just that rugby itself is becoming hard to avoid and it sort of ruins it a bit.

Think we'll disagree about 2015.

But all that commercial stuff has little to do with it being a World Cup and just the way life has changed in four years.

Now if you said 2015 was a better world than 2019 - I may well agree. Pre-referendum, pre-Trump .... much better.

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:15 pm

miaow wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

By the humidity, yes.

Quick google shows the average humidity in Fiji to be around 80%, noticeably higher than Japan even this time of year. 
Now I understand that most of the players live around the globe in less humid places, but the idea that they were somehow less prepared than other teams for the humidity is just odd. If they looked tired its because fitness levels werent high enough and they were outplayed and chasing games, not because Wales spent two weeks training in a sauna on barry island.

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:16 pm

miaow wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Not sure how you can describe this World Cup as too commercial when compared to 2015. Only seen this one on TV, rather than being at some games as in 2015, but the crowds looked much more lively than in 2015.

If I remember rightly too 2015 was criticised for having too many matches at Football Grounds. Watching any tournament on TV is never the same as being there, but certainly 2015 did not seem to excite the entire host nation (even before the hosts departure) as 2019 has.


It's all the peripheral stuff. There are about 40 rugby podcasts these days. There's youtube shows. There's a much more 'aligned' social media presence. It's a lot more up front and...clickbaity...than 4 years ago. So there's that. And it attracts, well...everyone, new fans, people who know f all. Really trying to 'sell' the tournament. In terms of stadia it's hard to say, obviously. But I didn't just mean corporate boxes. Just that rugby itself is becoming hard to avoid and it sort of ruins it a bit.

Think we'll disagree about 2015.


The RFU is still trying to shift those "world cup champions" t shirts

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Post by LondonTiger on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:20 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
miaow wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

By the humidity, yes.

Quick google shows the average humidity in Fiji to be around 80%, noticeably higher than Japan even this time of year. 
Now I understand that most of the players live around the globe in less humid places, but the idea that they were somehow less prepared than other teams for the humidity is just odd. If they looked tired its because fitness levels werent high enough and they were outplayed and chasing games, not because Wales spent two weeks training in a sauna on barry island.

Oh. Goose. When are you going to learn? There's more to Barry than fat men in a steamed up wooden hut.

It's right lush is Barry.

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Post by Afro on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:24 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
miaow wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

By the humidity, yes.

Quick google shows the average humidity in Fiji to be around 80%, noticeably higher than Japan even this time of year. 
Now I understand that most of the players live around the globe in less humid places, but the idea that they were somehow less prepared than other teams for the humidity is just odd. If they looked tired its because fitness levels werent high enough and they were outplayed and chasing games, not because Wales spent two weeks training in a sauna on barry island.

Oh. Goose. When are you going to learn? There's more to Barry than fat men in a steamed up wooden hut.

It's right lush is Barry.

And must have massive Saunas too
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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:29 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
miaow wrote:
LondonTiger wrote:Not sure how you can describe this World Cup as too commercial when compared to 2015. Only seen this one on TV, rather than being at some games as in 2015, but the crowds looked much more lively than in 2015.

If I remember rightly too 2015 was criticised for having too many matches at Football Grounds. Watching any tournament on TV is never the same as being there, but certainly 2015 did not seem to excite the entire host nation (even before the hosts departure) as 2019 has.


It's all the peripheral stuff. There are about 40 rugby podcasts these days. There's youtube shows. There's a much more 'aligned' social media presence. It's a lot more up front and...clickbaity...than 4 years ago. So there's that. And it attracts, well...everyone, new fans, people who know f all. Really trying to 'sell' the tournament. In terms of stadia it's hard to say, obviously. But I didn't just mean corporate boxes. Just that rugby itself is becoming hard to avoid and it sort of ruins it a bit.

Think we'll disagree about 2015.

But all that commercial stuff has little to do with it being a World Cup and just the way life has changed in four years.

Now if you said 2015 was a better world than 2019 - I may well agree. Pre-referendum, pre-Trump .... much better.

Yes, but that's all fair. Just like some may prefer the amateur world cups - not an invalid reason. Trump is stretching it though...

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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:30 pm

Gooseberry wrote:
miaow wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

By the humidity, yes.

Quick google shows the average humidity in Fiji to be around 80%, noticeably higher than Japan even this time of year. 
Now I understand that most of the players live around the globe in less humid places, but the idea that they were somehow less prepared than other teams for the humidity is just odd. If they looked tired its because fitness levels werent high enough and they were outplayed and chasing games, not because Wales spent two weeks training in a sauna on barry island.

You're spectacularly missing the point and it has nothing to do with the opposition they played, but more the fact that teams tired earlier in the heat. Fiji had no game to fall back on once they were shot, and they went around the 60 minute mark in Japan.

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Post by Gooseberry on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:40 pm

miaow wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
miaow wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:Are you suggesting that Fiji were unduly affected by the warm humid climate miaow? Really? 
How do you think they wouldve got on playing in october weather in scotland?

By the humidity, yes.

Quick google shows the average humidity in Fiji to be around 80%, noticeably higher than Japan even this time of year. 
Now I understand that most of the players live around the globe in less humid places, but the idea that they were somehow less prepared than other teams for the humidity is just odd. If they looked tired its because fitness levels werent high enough and they were outplayed and chasing games, not because Wales spent two weeks training in a sauna on barry island.

You're spectacularly missing the point and it has nothing to do with the opposition they played, but more the fact that teams tired earlier in the heat. Fiji had no game to fall back on once they were shot, and they went around the 60 minute mark in Japan.


Well a minute ago it was the humidity, now its the heat. The reason Fiji flagged early was because they werent fit enough and got outplayed, not because the weather was unfair on them. If anything it would suit them better as a team more used to the conditions. 

The only one whos missing that point is you, the one youre trying to make has been firmly rebutted several times. Fair enough if you want to disagree, but dont keep shifting the goalposts. 

The playing conditions in the world cup havent been near as bad a predicted. The balls werent greased pigs, the scrums have stayed up, its not as hot as australia, no game splayed at altitude, no frost nipping at the fingers as per 2015. 

Do you honestly think Fiji wouldve been better placed to beat Wales had the game been played at the Millenium?

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Post by miaow on Wed 30 Oct 2019, 3:45 pm

It's not an either/or. It's both. Both humidity and heat. Both that their conditioning isn't great but that the conditions got to them. They all/most play top pro rugby so their fitness isn't dreadful - all teams looked shattered after about 60 when they ran the ball and it wasn't a gimme, and that's just the gameplan they had. They had no other tactic.

A fairer comparison would be playing the game in France, not in Wales. Obviously. In which case I believe Fiji would likely have done better against Australia in particular (as that was the game they looked most likely to win) but also Wales if it were played in less draining conditions.

That is exactly what I'm saying.

Try to understand what I'm saying, please. Otherwise it feels like WUMming. It's not that big a deal.

miaow

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