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Push from the 6 Nations B to change the 6 nations.

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Post by Shifty Sun 11 Oct 2015, 8:54 pm

Something we've all probably heard but has also flown under the radar but might be a major talking point after the World Cup.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/international/sixnations/11495245/Open-up-the-Six-Nations-and-let-Georgia-in.html

Petition for change:
https://www.change.org/p/john-feehan-world-rugby-open-up-the-six-nations-championship-by-allowing-a-fair-system-of-promotion-relegation

Georgia coach on topic:
http://www.the42.ie/georgia-seven-nations-2366222-Oct2015/
http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/13795909/georgia-coach-milton-haig-wants-place-six-nations
http://www.rugbyworldcup.com/news/104253

Italian player on potential of a play off for relegation:
http://www.onrugby.it/2015/10/05/sei-nazioni-e-regole-parla-chistolini-giusto-un-match-playoff/

Personally I'm against ANY form of relegation, I'd hate to see Scotland any of the old 5 nations ever go down.  Imagine if Scotland got relegated it would kill the game there, and imagine the 20-30,000 Welsh fans who go to Edinburgh or Dublin each year being unable to go for our traditional píss up with our fellow Celts, the 6 nations is not only about rugby, and local rivalry on our little group of islands but it's about the fans too.  

Expansion is probably out of the question as well, I can't see the Aviva or Top 14 allowing the Unions to take an extra week or two, of their players being away from their squads on international duty.  Maybe some kind of game where Italy (if they finish bottom), might have to go away and play the top placed 6 Nations B team away to help them develop as a reward.  But I'd hate to see the championship tinkered with.  You only have to look at British football to see what happenes when you start tinkering with things.  As soon as the home nations football got scrapped all 4 teams went down the tube.

Finally the television companies would be annoyed, imagine if England got relegated, or France, what happens to the tv deal?
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Post by nathan Sun 11 Oct 2015, 8:58 pm

Just can't see it happening, as you mention think of the revenue lost if any of the bigger populated countries get regulated.

I think they should run a six nations tier 2 competition

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Post by HammerofThunor Sun 11 Oct 2015, 9:56 pm

They already do. There are seven tiers with 6 or 5 teams in each. It's a two year competition so each plays home and away before the winning is crowned. There is promotion/relegation between the tiers. Georgia have dominated, winning the last 5 and 7 of the last 8 years.

6 nations is the only European competition that is ring fenced.

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Post by blackcanelion Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:25 am

Probably a more palatable option is to set up a structure that allows the expansion of the 6 nations when teams get to a standard. E.g. you could move up Romania and Georgia now, or soon. That could be done with 2 pools of 4 with winners playing off. That's 4 weeks, or semis and that's 5 (the same as now).

The key point would be establishing the framework for further expansion. If you want the game to expand, you want national teams able to move up.

The alternative relegation, may be a now goer for political reasons for the power brokers. But as the game expands the reality is that some of the current sides will move down the pecking order. That's not a bad thing for the game as a whole.

To my mind the issue is rugby doesn't have strategies that can deal with any quick change. We're still a bit like 1995/96. If professional rugby takes off anywhere quickly an where new some established clubs nations may struggle.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 12 Oct 2015, 1:02 am

The problem with just taking the best sides up all the time is that it weakens the competition below. Then you have the fact they're not going to bring as much money is as the others and so we'd either 1) give them a smaller share or b) lose money ourselves. From history I think we all know what would happen there.

Realistically this needs World Rugby to sort out. Can't see anything changing.

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Post by blackcanelion Mon 12 Oct 2015, 1:22 am

It'll change. It's just a matter of when.

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Post by 123456789. Mon 12 Oct 2015, 5:06 am

For me the Six Nations is so much more than simply a rugby competition, it's about the build up to the games, the atmosphere in the stadium, the anthems, the pubs and clubs after. Furthermore all teams have their peaks and troughs, Ireland have had a slump, Wales have had one, I'm unsure as to whether or not Scotland have had one for certain but I'm sure one day our time will come, relegation to an Eastern European/ Mediterranean Semi-pro division could kill rugby off in the Celtic nations. For any of the traditional 5 nations Murrayfield sells out, why? Certainly not in expectation, maybe in hope but mainly for the banter and the atmosphere, because the matches mean something more than just winning a rugby match, because everyone in the Britain and Ireland knows someone from the other three nations and probably a France supporter and often even an Italian as well, and you know for the next year you could have the bragging rights. Now I'm not sure why but Georgia doesn't have the same appeal to me, furthermore Italy have shown it takes time and effort to develop from a promising Tier Two side to a competitive Tier One side, it takes prolonged exposure to the top teams to get even a slither of consistent competitiveness, a promotion and relegation system would have merely a yo-yo effect whereby Georgia came up every year and were comfortably beaten before the relegated original six nations side comes straight back up again.

That's not to say I am in favour of the current ringfence, work needs to be done to develop rugby in Europe, there are a number of steps to do this:

1. Form the much spoken about "third tier" of European Club rugby;  this will mean more competitive games for the countries' top teams and also enable players from lower tier teams to showcase themselves to the big clubs, potentially earn a contract and then learn from the best.

2. Invest in the development stages of each of these sides, all of the six nations sides are turning vast profits, all of them have academy systems. Why not ring fence some places in these academies for the best lower tier players on a strict agreement that these players will not be poached.

3. The third stage provides an opportunity for the existing sides to regain some money and some benefits on their investment. If we formed a European Championship then it would mean the likes of Georgia and Romania play top teams every two years, and therefore show a consistent indicator of their ability and subsequently show the right time for the six nations to expand but retain its current format. Secondly these big tournaments are big money earners, BT Sport would pay a reasonable amount to televise it I'd imagine and if it were played during a Lions year it would give the Home Nations the opportunity to try new players out in full test matches. In those years the Lions go to one of the tri-nations, France another and then the third gets involved in a joke competition similar to the "quadrangular tournament of 2013", France have enough depth to tour and take part in a competition and it would also encourage the rugby championship sides to play proper tests against the Pacific Nations and Japan, we've seen the damage to the Pacific Island teams by their general exclusion from the elite rugby calendar this world cup when they've all finished fourth in their groups, I'd imagine their worst ever result. It would also expose the best European teams to international knockout rugby which could pay dividends in the world cup.

It wouldn't be hard to set up, if it were initially a 16 team tournament with the Six Nations, European Nations Cup 1A, and then the top four finishers from the European Nations Cup 1B. With four groups of four from which the top two qualify and then the standard format.

So if it were to be held this year (which it wouldn't under this proposal as it isn't a Lions year) you'd have:

Pool A: Ireland, Romania, Spain, Netherlands
Pool B: England, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine
Pool C: Wales, Scotland, Portugal, Moldova
Pool D: France, Italy, Germany, Belgium

Obviously a large number of these games would be exceptionally one sided and result in cricket scores but look at the early world cup. Also it wouldn't be hard to stage, say Scotland were to host it, they could host the big games at Murrayfield and Scotstoun and then the smaller games at Netherdale, the Greenyards and even smaller amateur rugby grounds. With the standard of teams it needn't be a long competition, maybe even just four weeks if you played two played two games a week for the group stage and quarter finals.

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Post by Fanster Mon 12 Oct 2015, 5:46 am

I think the issue you'll have with trying to make changes with the current set up are numerous:

1) Anyway you look at it either one of the 6N unions will get a hefty monetary slump when relegated, probably meaning if we use Scotland and Italy as favourites (Last 4/5 years results) rugby would take a massive wallop, and although the Union v club battle isn't too prevelant in these countrues yet, it soon would be when belts are tightened.

2) If this were not to happen, then the team being promoted would have to compensate the competition for the loss of funding from sponsorships etc, and the nation relegated (part of the owner of the tournament) would need to ensure they were compensated too.

3) As someone said, Italy have been exposed to top tier rugby and despite coming on from where they were they seem to have hit a ceiling performance wise, to a point where only the odd one off game they become competitive. Until they invest in themselves and start developing from within, at a consistent rate, and develop a club infrastrucutre consistent with where they wnt to go they will always just be clinging on to the back end of the tournament.

4) I would question if a fully pro team capable of putting 40/50 points on Georgia would help being dropped into that division, and delivering worse to the other teams, Georgia are a step above all right now, and Italy/Scotland are a huge step above them.

5) What I would do...

I think the 6N needs tier'd slightly differently, run the 6N as is, but instead of introducing promotion/relegation, a 10 year block of a new development comp is required, in which each 6N team is required to enter an 'A' team into a 2nd tier comp running similarly to 6N but in 2 sections.

Pool A Pool B

England Saxons Ireland Wolfhounds
Wales A Ialy A
Scotland A France A
Georgia Russia
Romania Spain

These competitions can be hosted by the tier 2 nations, to grow the game with a contribution from the 6N proper. Surely these games will be competitive enough to be a winner for everyone, with maybe England being dominant, but hey who cares, it's a development tournament, in which the smaller nations play teams of higher quality than themselves, but not too high that they get humped.

After a 10 year block we reassess and check to see what improvements have been made, maybe then the 2nd tier pools can be reallocated to mainland european teams with the higher level of competition, and then consider a playoff relegation system in which the bottom 6N team playes tier 2 winners for a 6N spot proper?

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Post by yappysnap Mon 12 Oct 2015, 8:31 am

Could the 6N's be run every other year and in its place a bigger comp that has a few minnows?


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Post by aqualung Mon 12 Oct 2015, 8:46 am

I'll just have my say about it. I don't think at all that has been whatsoever evidence to change the 6N format. I simply realize that Georgia and Romania are not up to that level yet.
Even Italy, arguably the worst team of 6N, until had wish to play and had something similar to a first-choice team on the pitch, thrashed Romania, so did France and Ireland.
Let's postpone this topic until those teams will get actual results vs 6N teams as Italy had to do during the 90's.
My view

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Post by bedfordwelsh Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:30 pm

I am still amazed by how many people dont actually know there is a European League below the 6 Nations. Like most I would love to see some of the other teams brought in maybe through a promotion relegation system but I doubt the big Unions would agree to it in case they were one of the ones to finish bottom.

Also what about the infrastructure of places like Georgia and Romania. Are hotels/flights etc readily available if they did get included?
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Post by aqualung Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:34 pm

I think it would be better an European Championship every 4 years

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Post by Tattie Scones RRN Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:36 pm

I've got an idea........

Leave it the feic alone.

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Post by HammerofThunor Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:38 pm

bedfordwelsh wrote:Also what about the infrastructure of places like Georgia and Romania.  Are hotels/flights etc readily available if they did get included?

They manage to be involved with international football, which I hear is pretty popular.

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Post by Tiger/Chief Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:43 pm

Hugely in favour of developing the competition! It's mundane and boring at the minute! Basically 5 friendlies with nothing riding on it other than pride, YAWN. Not to mention it's not even a true competition because there are 3 home and 2 away games or vice versa.

The current format often results in negative play up until the final game where teams work out how many points they need to score to win the "competition".

Reduce it to a structured 2 x 4 nations with teams playing home and away include Georgia and Romania have promotion and relegation as well as bonus points.

I don't see money as a issue, if the fans don't turn up because their country is in the second tier then they should hang their heads in shame.

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:45 pm

bedfordwelsh wrote:

Also what about the infrastructure of places like Georgia and Romania.  Are hotels/flights etc readily available if they did get included?

Blue Air fly directly from Glasgow to Bucharest. BA (and low-costs such as Ryanair, Blue Air and Wizz air) fly direct from London. Air France (Blue Air, Wizz air low cost) direct from Paris. Ryan air fly direct from Dublin. From Belfast, Cardiff, Birmingham or Manchester you'd need to stop over (in Amsterdam/London/Paris). So yeah reasonably easy transport certainly. Fairly sure they're plenty of hotels...

Georgia is, obviously, more complicated. Reasonable from Paris or London (one stop via Ukraine or Turkey) but will take you longer...

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Post by aqualung Mon 12 Oct 2015, 12:48 pm

uhmm, sound suspicious to me. Could be that some chaps are so keen in Georgia/ Romania rugby weekends due to ..,let's say, extra-rugby matters Wink

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Post by Mad for Chelsea Mon 12 Oct 2015, 1:05 pm

Never been to Georgia, but Romania's a great country to visit (I'm not sure I'd want to live there). Great monasteries, castles, etc. Cheap food and accommodation. Great place to go for a long week-end IMHO.

N.B. "accommodation" has two 'm's. You learn something new every day Very Happy

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Post by bedfordwelsh Mon 12 Oct 2015, 1:38 pm

HammerofThunor wrote:
bedfordwelsh wrote:Also what about the infrastructure of places like Georgia and Romania.  Are hotels/flights etc readily available if they did get included?

They manage to be involved with international football, which I hear is pretty popular.

Aren't there limits on away football fans though due to crowd troubles that football have historically been associated with?
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Post by 123456789. Mon 12 Oct 2015, 2:31 pm

Tiger/Chief wrote:Hugely in favour of developing the competition! It's mundane and boring at the minute! Basically 5 friendlies with nothing riding on it other than pride, YAWN. Not to mention it's not even a true competition because there are 3 home and 2 away games or vice versa.

The current format often results in negative play up until the final game where teams work out how many points they need to score to win the "competition".

Reduce it to a structured 2 x 4 nations with teams playing home and away include Georgia and Romania have promotion and relegation as well as bonus points.

I don't see money as a issue, if the fans don't turn up because their country is in the second tier then they should hang their heads in shame.

You're having a laugh if you think it's unacceptable to prefer to see your country play against its oldest and biggest rivals rather than Eastern European countries.




Also tellingly Georgia have played 16 tests against Tier One sides and won 0, Romania have played 141 and won 28, a success of just under 20%, of which 16 were against Italy and 8 against France (the last of this was in 1983), none of the victories have come this century. Compare that to Italy who regularly beat the Six Nations teams in the run up to their entry and yet haven't been able to compete consistently since. Obviously Georgia playing just 16 tests against Tier One sides is unacceptable but the way to solve that isn't to weaken the strongest and most marketable brand in European Rugby.

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Post by bedfordwelsh Mon 12 Oct 2015, 4:41 pm

123456789. wrote:
Tiger/Chief wrote:Hugely in favour of developing the competition! It's mundane and boring at the minute! Basically 5 friendlies with nothing riding on it other than pride, YAWN. Not to mention it's not even a true competition because there are 3 home and 2 away games or vice versa.

The current format often results in negative play up until the final game where teams work out how many points they need to score to win the "competition".

Reduce it to a structured 2 x 4 nations with teams playing home and away include Georgia and Romania have promotion and relegation as well as bonus points.

I don't see money as a issue, if the fans don't turn up because their country is in the second tier then they should hang their heads in shame.

You're having a laugh if you think it's unacceptable to prefer to see your country play against its oldest and biggest rivals rather than Eastern European countries.




Also tellingly Georgia have played 16 tests against Tier One sides and won 0, Romania  have played 141 and won 28, a success of just under 20%, of which 16 were against Italy and 8 against France (the last of this was in 1983), none of the victories have come this century. Compare that to Italy who regularly beat the Six Nations teams in the run up to their entry and yet haven't been able to compete consistently since. Obviously Georgia playing just 16 tests against Tier One sides is unacceptable but the way to solve that isn't to weaken the strongest and most marketable brand in European Rugby.  

They have beaten everyone bar England whilst in the 6 Nations though.
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Post by catchweight Mon 12 Oct 2015, 4:52 pm

Their should be a play off between between the last place in the 6 Nations and the winner of the tier two competition.

It might encourage those teams in the 6 Nations who are out of contention not to throw in the towel on the final day and ship 50 points and if they are beaten the winners of the the B competition in a play off then they deserve to lose their spot for a season.

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Post by Tiger/Chief Mon 12 Oct 2015, 5:07 pm

How about 2 pools of 4 that play 3 games and then a cup and a plate competition thereafter with a final and third place playoff! All teams still only play 5 games and Romania and Georgia get to join the party properly.......

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Post by 123456789. Mon 12 Oct 2015, 5:44 pm

Tiger/Chief wrote:How about 2 pools of 4 that play 3 games and then a cup and a plate competition thereafter with a final and third place playoff! All teams still only play 5 games and Romania and Georgia get to join the party properly.......

If it's not broken don't fix it, Romania and Georgia simply aren't good enough. Change for the sake of change is simply pointless.

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Post by Tiger/Chief Mon 12 Oct 2015, 6:03 pm

Personally i do think its broken, Not the same number of home and away games and the scoring system is out dated often having the winner of the tournament settled on points difference which no one wants to see.

At a minimum i'd bring in bonus points for tries and finishing within 7 so that it is less likely we see teams finish on the same points. I'd really like to see the tournament shortened with a semi and a final for the best place 4 teams. This would replicate the knockout rugby we all love watching every 4 years in the world cup.

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Post by Tiger/Chief Mon 12 Oct 2015, 6:08 pm

123456789. wrote:
Tiger/Chief wrote:How about 2 pools of 4 that play 3 games and then a cup and a plate competition thereafter with a final and third place playoff! All teams still only play 5 games and Romania and Georgia get to join the party properly.......

If it's not broken don't fix it, Romania and Georgia simply aren't good enough. Change for the sake of change is simply pointless.

How are countries supposed to grow professionally if they don't compete with the best? Rugby needs to drop this elitist attitude and help the game grow globally.

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Post by 123456789. Mon 12 Oct 2015, 6:37 pm

Tiger/Chief wrote:
123456789. wrote:
Tiger/Chief wrote:How about 2 pools of 4 that play 3 games and then a cup and a plate competition thereafter with a final and third place playoff! All teams still only play 5 games and Romania and Georgia get to join the party properly.......

If it's not broken don't fix it, Romania and Georgia simply aren't good enough. Change for the sake of change is simply pointless.

How are countries supposed to grow professionally if they don't compete with the best? Rugby needs to drop this elitist attitude and help the game grow globally.

Of course it does but the answer is not to throw them in at the deep end and hope they swim,  the six nations is a brilliant, brilliant competition that spans further than rugby. Introducing two relatively poor teams would damage the competition and would do little to help Romania or Georgia, intelligent investment in rugby development in these countries and building it up, the answer is to create a European rugby competition alongside and with the six nations and/ or a tier two competition that regularly pits the like of Samoa, Fiji and Tonga against Georgia, Romania and Canada.

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Post by Tiger/Chief Mon 12 Oct 2015, 7:03 pm

Like the sound of a European rugby tournament and a tier 2 tournament that would see games such as Fiji v Canada Japan v Romania etc.


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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 12 Oct 2015, 7:31 pm

Tiger/Chief wrote:Like the sound of a European rugby tournament and a tier 2 tournament that would see games such as Fiji v Canada Japan v Romania etc.

Fiji already do play Canada and Japan in the PNC but these tournaments are always unsuccesful due the best players being unavailable and the lack of promotion and interest from all nations.

The first thing to do is for a total change in the structure of the season, so that internationals and club games don't overlap to help players become available. If that happens we can start properly assessing how good these tier 2 teams are. Even in this WC Fijian players were held back by clubs in France. Toulouse also tried to force Census to retire despite all he has given to the club.

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Post by Irish Londoner Mon 12 Oct 2015, 8:26 pm

Just a question, going back 12 months when the HEC was collapsed by the Avivia clubs, wasn't one of geegaws and baubles attached to the new competition supposed to be a properly funded third tier Euro competition to allow the rest of the European nations to start to develop a competitive professional club structure ?
Shouldn't that be where the focus should be - build a competitive club structure and the national level improvement will follow.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon 12 Oct 2015, 9:07 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:Just a question, going back 12 months when the HEC was collapsed by the Avivia clubs, wasn't one of geegaws and baubles attached to the new competition supposed to be a properly funded third tier Euro competition to allow the rest of the European nations to start to develop a competitive professional club structure ?
Shouldn't that be where the focus should be - build a competitive club structure and the national level improvement will follow.
That has been setup and is being discussed here http://t2rugby.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=277&start=200
but it won't help develop anything because it is a knockout competition with only one team from each country with little funding and very little interest. You need a strong domestic competition like Japan or even Romania, Whose teams are even starting to sign foreign players such as Will Genia's brother and recently a wing from the Brumbies. Romania almost failed to qualify for the 2011 WC which gave the union a huge shot up the backside and they finally started pumping money into Romanian rugby. They are now starting to benefit from their fully pro domestic league.

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Post by dallym Tue 13 Oct 2015, 9:40 am

Have a fortnight of practice games before the Six Nations. Developing countries involved to be Georgia, Romania and Russia. Each of them gets two games. e.g. first weekend they take on Ireland, Italy and Scotland. Second weekend England Wales and France play them. This is only one extra game for the big 6 so not much added workload, and they get a practice game out of it. And the developing nations get 2 matches against quality teams.


Is this feasible?

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Post by bedfordwelsh Tue 13 Oct 2015, 11:59 am

I think in time it will happen after all a took years for France then Italy to finally be included so it won't happen anytime soon but I think it will eventually.
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Post by TJ Tue 13 Oct 2015, 1:02 pm

I haven't read every post on this. Just to nail my colours to the mast on this - I am a Scotland fan.

I used to be dead set against any further change to the 6N as if / when Scotland get relegated it would further damage the game here to the point it would be very hard to get back up again. We are teetering on a knife edge anyway.

However I now can buy the argument its unfair on the teams like Georgia / Romania who really are of a comparable standard to Italy and Scotland and further exposure at the top level will only improve them and do Georgia not have a 8 team pro league?

For the smaller European nations ( Russia / Spain etc) I think allowing them to enter the european club cup as countries could work and not be to the detriment of the rest but Georgia might be too good for that and do a lot of their players not play for clubs who already are in the european cup?

How about a relegation / promotion playoff every year - winners of Tier 2 to play losers of Tier one? It means there is a chance to progress but it alos means losing the six nations does not automatically mean relegation? I'd hate to see Scotland go down and it would be very damaging but if Scotland can't beat Georgia maybe they would deserve to do so?

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Post by Shifty Sat 24 Oct 2015, 5:22 pm

TJ wrote:I haven't read every post on this.  Just to nail my colours to the mast on this - I am a Scotland fan.

I used to be dead set against any further change to the 6N as if / when Scotland get relegated it would further damage the game here to the point it would be very hard to get back up again.  We are teetering on a knife edge anyway.

However I now can buy the argument its unfair on the teams like Georgia / Romania who really are of a comparable standard to Italy and Scotland and further exposure at the top level will only improve them and do Georgia not have a 8 team pro league?

For the smaller European nations ( Russia / Spain etc) I think allowing them to enter the european club cup as countries could work and not be to the detriment of the rest but Georgia might be too good for that and do a lot of their players not play for clubs who already are in the european cup?

How about a relegation / promotion playoff every year - winners of Tier 2 to play losers of Tier one?  It means there is a chance to progress but it alos means losing the six nations does not automatically mean relegation?  I'd hate to see Scotland go down and it would be very damaging but if Scotland can't beat Georgia maybe they would deserve to do so?

I think major changes to structure have to be taken by the 6 nations committee, and basically as four of the 6 nations teams fund professional rugby in their country via their national team, I don't think it will ever happen.
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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sat 24 Oct 2015, 5:57 pm

For any change to happen, the structure of the season has to change...end of. No more teams can be brought in as things stand.

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