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Six Nations: Italy should face prospect of relegation - Warburton

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Post by No9 Sun 07 Feb 2021, 7:18 pm

First topic message reminder :

From the BBC

Italy should face the prospect of relegation from the Six Nations after their 50-10 hammering by France in the 2021 tournament opener, according to former Wales captain Sam Warburton.

The Azzurri suffered a 28th consecutive Six Nations defeat in a seven-tries-to-one trouncing in Rome.

Warburton said: "I think enough's enough now.

"Italy just don't have the strength in depth from a playing pool point of view."

The former two-tour British and Irish Lions captain says Georgia, who have dominated Europe's second tier in recent years, should be given the chance to take over from Italy in the Six Nations via a play-off.


https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/55972682


Do you agree.. I don't fully. I agree, that Italy don't have the international strength, and is just the side that the five others look to putting a cricket score on to gain BPs. So yes I believe they should lose their 6 Nations place, but I don't believe Georgia is the answer, as they are likely to be as bad.

I think the tournament needs to drop back to 5 Nations, and played every other weekend (with one extra rest week) as it used to be. Will give the players needed rest time.

Or, if the money men insist it has to be 6 Nations, then invite the Boks, as time zone wise it will suit them and it will give real competition rather than just making up the numbers. Of course, would have meant this years wouldn't have been played with COVID, but not sure it should in the current climate anyway.

That's my thoughts... anyone agree, disagree.... etc..

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Post by LordDowlais Sun 14 Feb 2021, 7:07 pm

Hugo Moyne was very scathing of Italy on Scrum V tonight. He reckons something needs to be done, but as Italy are a stakeholder in the 6N that there is nothing anybody can do. He was very critical about how they are perhaps using the 6N as a development tool for the world cup, he also said there are really tight games between the original nations and the Italy game is just a chance to rack up some points.

Oh what to do ?

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Post by Brendan Mon 15 Feb 2021, 1:35 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Hugo Moyne was very scathing of Italy on Scrum V tonight. He reckons something needs to be done, but as Italy are a stakeholder in the 6N that there is nothing anybody can do. He was very critical about how they are perhaps using the 6N as a development tool for the world cup, he also said there are really tight games between the original nations and the Italy game is just a chance to rack up some points.

Oh what to do ?

I guess France aren't using it as a development for the WC. Isn't it what most nations do.  Or should this only be done for Summer tests an AIs.

Their result v England was 23 points.  Since 2013 there was only one other time they have had a smaller loss which was 2017.  So are you saying that they reduce the loss with a very young team and now it's not good enough.  Again progress is progress.

If Italy get kicked out of the 6N how will the nations replace the loss of income from the match and how do they keep people's attention when you nation isn't playing on certain weeks.
How will Italy be able to fund rugby in Italy if they don't have the millions from 6Ns.  They have more registered players then Wales or Scotland.  Do we think that these numbers will be unaffected by loss of funds.
How will the Pro14 teams be able to pay players without union support.

Why should the u20s and womens teams be kicked out of the 6Ns because one of the teams is doing poor. Italy in 2019 finished second and from 2011-2019 Scotland had 3 wins.  Why should the Italian ladies be kicked out of the 6 nations.  In u20s Italy hasn't finished last since 2016.  Why should they be kicked out.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon 15 Feb 2021, 1:39 pm

Brendan wrote:I guess France aren't using it as a development for the WC. Isn't it what most nations do. Or should this only be done for Summer tests an AIs.

Thats what he said.

He said that the 6N holds to much prestige to viewed as a development for the WC, and thats what summer tours should be used for.

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Post by Brendan Mon 15 Feb 2021, 1:52 pm

What alot of people don't understand is what the 6 nations actually is.

It is a political block of 18 votes.  You kick Italy out they vote against the block and then the RC+Italy also have 15 votes.  How much money/power are Italy's three votes worth (plus their and San Maino's votes in Europe Region)
Will France be happy to be the only non-english speaking, non-home union in the block.

It's a money generation that captures public's imagination.  Not sure how super Super Saturday would be if your nation only plays 4 times in 7 weeks and has to sit out the final round. Reducing games doesn't help build momentum.

It is the collection of T1 European nations that has role in international, Club/Regional, grassroots.

It is one of (If not) main finacial drivers that funds the unions and allows them to give money to the professional game.  I would love to see the figures for the actual money brought in by Wales and Scotland compared to Italy for 6 nations.  It has a larger population to sell to.  It has a larger playing base to sell to and economical it is richer then both nations combined.  Gate receipts mean nothing because they are not shared out. How much money generated by Wales would be brought in If they weren't there (as an example)

What it is not is the mens game only.

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Post by Brendan Mon 15 Feb 2021, 1:54 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
Brendan wrote:I guess France aren't using it as a development for the WC. Isn't it what most nations do.  Or should this only be done for Summer tests an AIs.

Thats what he said.

He said that the 6N holds to much prestige to viewed as a development for the WC, and thats what summer tours should be used for.

Then he must be blind or never use the media term WC cycle. Ideals and actual are two different things.

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Post by whatahitson Mon 15 Feb 2021, 3:36 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Hugo Moyne was very scathing of Italy on Scrum V tonight. He reckons something needs to be done, but as Italy are a stakeholder in the 6N that there is nothing anybody can do. He was very critical about how they are perhaps using the 6N as a development tool for the world cup, he also said there are really tight games between the original nations and the Italy game is just a chance to rack up some points.

Oh what to do ?

They have just played the two best teams in Europe based on the previous 12 months of rugby (France and England finished 1st and 2nd in six nations, both finalists in nations cup).

Let's just see how they get on in the next 3 games before calling them useless.

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Post by doctor_grey Wed 17 Feb 2021, 3:56 am

Regardless of chatter, Italy is not leaving the 6 Nations.  Kind of silly to over-react simply because a couple of former Rugby players bring it up.  

To me, the questions should be about what is inhibiting Italy from developing further and what is necessary for them to get there.  So much of the discussions I have seen (not an exhaustive review, mind) have focused on structure, not about building the grass roots and how to leverage it.  

I also think any discussions about inviting the Boks to join should not be based on Italy leaving.  This would be a complete radical restructuring.  Not that I am opposed, rather I think it would be great.  Maybe Japan too, but that presents huge travel and logistical challenges.  Another discussion for another day....

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Post by LordDowlais Sun 28 Feb 2021, 12:12 pm

Oh well, another game and another 46 points and six tries conceded. The way things are now, the 6N is decided by who puts the most points and tries on Italy.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Sun 28 Feb 2021, 12:53 pm

I'd like to see promotion relegation if only to force the corrupt FIR into action. They are way too comfortable taking the money from the 6 nations every year and sitting on it.

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Post by whatahitson Sun 28 Feb 2021, 2:07 pm

Italy need to improve and sharpish. They need a new coach they look like a team that plays patchy rugby some good moments and then they barely look like a team. How do they improve well relegation won't help them. Garbisi could be a star and where is Campagnaro and Minozzi they cannot afford to be missing that kind of talent. Italy need a coach who can raise standards they are too comfortable with losing they need to target Scotland now that France are no longer beatable their tight five forwards just don't seem up to the job at this level which used to be a traditional strength. It's not an easy fix but they must improve.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 28 Feb 2021, 2:38 pm

I have to say I have given up on Italy - they simply are not good enough.
Been given the chance and have gone backwards.

Either bring in promotion and relegation or revert to 5N.

I find myself doing other things when an Italy game is on, they are not competitive matches any more

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Post by Brendan Mon 01 Mar 2021, 11:56 am

whatahitson wrote:Italy need to improve and sharpish. They need a new coach they look like a team that plays patchy rugby some good moments and then they barely look like a team. How do they improve well relegation won't help them. Garbisi could be a star and where is Campagnaro and Minozzi they cannot afford to be missing that kind of talent. Italy need a coach who can raise standards they are too comfortable with losing they need to target Scotland now that France are no longer beatable their tight five forwards just don't seem up to the job at this level which used to be a traditional strength. It's not an easy fix but they must improve.

Their coach was brought in last year with a view to bring on the young players that have been doing great at u20s. They have a young team that will improve over the next few years and seem to have some quaility players coming through. Would people rather Allen with Italy losing by around 20 points or giving Gabisi a go and in a few years have a 10 that will be as good as the other 6N 10s.

Campagnaro, and Polledri are injuried while Minnozi asked not to be selected due to coming back from injury and worried about issues. That is probably their three biggest players who are a big part of their attack. A ball going from a Polledri break cycled quickly by Varney on to Gabisi, Campagnaro and finally to Minozzi with a one on one on the wing would worry any team. All a good (potential) international players.

I agree that the 6Ns should look to help fix the situation but relegation is not the answer. Losing the income would result in more players having issues like Minozzi as they know that at club level they will be flogged if based overseas.

They can't bring in players like other 6N teams because just losing the Pro12 rugby (as was on the cards in 2015) resulted in them not signing the good NIE players who would now be qualified.

Italy believe or not are on a better footing for the future then Scotland. Their u20s is better. Bringing in non qualified players will be alot harder so will hit Scotland more. Argentina losing professional rugby will see more players come to Italy (and rest of Europe) from Argentina looking for professional rugby and can then be picked off by Italy with the ancestor rule as the 6 nations would better for the club then 6 weeks traveling the SH. Fairly sure money is more for playing for Italy.

Italy have playing numbers bigger then Wales and Scotland and are now starting to bring through their "golden generation" much like Ireland of 2000 with the provinces. It's not really a golden generation just a step up in the players they will be producing going forward.

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Post by Brendan Mon 01 Mar 2021, 12:25 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:I have to say I have given up on Italy - they simply are not good enough.
Been given the chance and have gone backwards.

Either bring in promotion and relegation or revert to 5N.

I find myself doing other things when an Italy game is on, they are not competitive matches any more

Hard to say that Italy have gone backwards. The others have just gone forwards. It is only recently in the professional era that the 3 Celts weren't fighting to be the 6th best team in the World by a distance behind the French, English and the 3 SH teams. The smaller nations took longer to adapt to professional in. Ireland were first, then Wales, now Scotland and Italy will be next. As their "golden generation" it's the top level.

Italy appeared compeditive because Scotland were also poor. They are bring though the younger players and haven't finish last in the u20s since 2017. Do we cut them just as they are sorting things out. We made an effort to cut them from Pro12 in 2015 which has resulted in Italy stalling relative to the 6Ns (not the rest of the rugby world)

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 02 Mar 2021, 10:48 am

Eddie O'Sullivan is now talking about this, I have read this in todays media:-

Former Ireland coach says Italy 'going nowhere'

Former Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan says Italy's Six Nations participation is "not going anywhere", adding that a five-nation tournament may well be better for the competition's integrity.

The Italians haven't won a Six Nations fixture for six years and slumped to another heavy defeat at the hands of the Irish in Rome at the weekend.

Since joining the competition in 2000, Italy have won just 12 of the last 108 games they have played, a record that has sparked several questions over their continued participation in the tournament.


Alternative suggestions have included promotion and relegation, which would give the likes of Romania or Georgia a chance to shine, or indeed the inclusion of South Africa or Argentina.

"They are the whipping boys of the tournament and the fact remains that every team sees Italy as an opportunity to rack up points," O'Sullivan told RTÉ's Against The Head.

"Italy are your banker if you need points on the last day. That's not good for the tournament. When the tournament started everyone was saying we should give them time, but it's 21 years and it's probably getting worse now, not better.

"I see Franco Smith (Italy coach) coming out and saying his team will beat anyone in the world in five years. I don't know where that came from, there is no evidence, it's just the same year in, year out. It's not a good look for a tournament to have an annual whipping boy; it's not a good idea in terms of developing the tournament.

"Forget all the poppycock about history; it's about money"

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Post by whatahitson Tue 02 Mar 2021, 10:56 am

Why have Italy been worse in the last 7 years compared to the previous 14 years (or two blocks of 7 years)?

Maybe the restructuring of European rugby, Aironi going out of business, and Treviso (now Benetton) losing all their players and practically becoming a semi pro team back in 2014 had something to do with it? It might also be reflective of the relative decline of Pro rugby as the Irish teams continue to dominate while the 'product' becomes less and less competitive, and the games and league in itself becomes less useful for preparing players for international rugby?

This makes for some stark reading as well. The Italians are doing fairly well in reflecting their own national set ups as a fair number of their residency players in fact grew up and learned rugby in Italy. Ireland and France have improved by picking fewer residency players than in the past, while Wales have added a few more which probably reflects their struggle to replace some of their big names like Jamie Roberts (half of their foreigners are centres). But Scotland? That's the real difference. Scotland have pulled away from Italy in the last 7 years by absolutely filling their team with non-Scottish trained and/or raised rugby players and that's why Italy have no hope of avoiding the wooden spoon anymore. A two horse race that periodically saw Wales, and then France, join in when they decided to have a meltdown season, has become a one horse race.

www.americasrugbynews.com/2021/02/03/foreign-born-produced-players-in-2021-six-nations/

The stats for not trained or raised in country i.e. foreign players in the current six nations squads (ranging between 28 and 37 in number) are as follows:

Scotland - 18 (+2 born outside Scotland but raised/trained in country)
Ireland - 7 (+1)
Italy - 7 (+3)
Wales - 6 (+6)
France - 4
England - 2

The difference is clear. If Italy were able to do what Scotland did they would close the gap in no time and we'd be back to thinking of the six nations as 4 + 2 in terms of competitive teams now that can win the title v two teams that compete to avoid the wooden spoon. Or, if Scotland's recent good run of form can be sustained, then if Italy were able to pick the same number and quality of foreigners, we would have a genuinely competitive six nations tournament where on any given day, any team could beat any other team. But we have to ask 'at what cost'?

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Post by LordDowlais Tue 02 Mar 2021, 11:34 am

whatahitson wrote:(half of their foreigners are centres)

Care to elaborate on this ?

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Post by tigertattie Tue 02 Mar 2021, 7:21 pm

Well those numbers are completely stacked to try and prove a weird point.

Duncan Taylor has Scottish parents and went to primary school in Edinburgh. I dare you try and tell him that’s he’s not a “product” of Scotland.

People need to move away from this apparent need for each player to be “born and bred” for their worth to be considered equal to players who have never set foot on foreign soil.

The modern world has changed a lot from the days where people stayed within 20 miles of where they were born. People move around these days. Travel is just so much easier now.
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Post by Brendan Tue 02 Mar 2021, 7:38 pm

Agree Watahiston.

People aren't looking at the underlying issues and work being done.  These are the same kinds of people who in 2015 declared the gap between NH and SH getting bigger when in fact it was getting smaller and with the older players retiring Australia, NZ and Argentina came back down to earth. Argentina not really being much better then Italy except in the Covid Championships.

U20.  NZ have fallen off in u20s which has now feed through to the senior team.  France on the other hand improved.  Italy have cemented their place as a top 12 team while Scotland this year got relegated.  They and Japan offset u20s by bringing in older players.  SA are the one team to remain as strong as ever and so no surprise that once they picked those players they suddenly went from 7th to top 2 over night. Australia are better then NZ over the last few years and then these players get fully capped and Oz improves.

Player Development.
Italy of the 90s/00s was built on very few home grown developed players.  Now they have alot more home grown players as pointed out.  Their Pro teams are predominately Italy players (most of them young) with some good NIE players.  In years past it was poor forgien players.  Like Ireland they are reducing overseas players with young talented Italian players.  Wales seems to be bring more players to Wales from England to their Pro teams then in years past and the stars of Wales seem to be more and more English school/academy system rather then their own.  France are increasing domestic playing numbers and heir team improves.

Playing Numbers.
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.therugbypaper.co.uk/guest-blogs/38650/rugby-union-countries-with-most-registered-players-ready-to-know/amp/
Scotland 49k
Wales 87k
Italy 89k
Ireland 101k
Argentina 105k
It's easy to see that with them getting better rewards from their players at underage they have the numbers to match the other nations.  Scotland on the other hand need to continue to look to the heritage rule.

Success
Italy aren't going to get any worse so as they improve so will numbers and in every area. Case in point would be Ireland. Other countries if they cease to be successful will see drop in numbers. See Australia and Scotland for case in point and the financial issues that drops in revenue costs rugby development.

It's all about the money which Northern Italy has plenty of.  They have higher numbers of players then Wales whose numbers aren't going to go up as rugby isn't going to get more popular.  Same could be said of Argentina and Scotland & the PIs, and probably Ireland.  They are as good or better then all of these countries at underage and will be as good as everyone in 5 years when their current players hit their prime.  Wales and Scotland can't put out as young a team as Italy are that wouldnt get beat up in the 6Ns.

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Post by Brendan Tue 02 Mar 2021, 7:45 pm

tigertattie wrote:Well those numbers are completely stacked to try and prove a weird point.

Duncan Taylor has Scottish parents and went to primary school in Edinburgh. I dare you try and tell him that’s he’s not a “product” of Scotland.  

People need to move away from this apparent need for each player to be “born and bred” for their worth to be considered equal to players who have never set foot on foreign soil.

The modern world has changed a lot from the days where people stayed within 20 miles of where they were born. People move around these days. Travel is just so much easier now.

I think the point was that Italy are producing their own players much more then they were, while Scotland seem to have less coming through the Scottish system then previously. Wales also seem to have less coming through in Wales. Ireland have loads but they dont stop being boys until 23/24 were as other countries have players at 23 with as many caps.

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Post by whatahitson Tue 02 Mar 2021, 8:34 pm

tigertattie wrote:Well those numbers are completely stacked to try and prove a weird point.

Duncan Taylor has Scottish parents and went to primary school in Edinburgh. I dare you try and tell him that’s he’s not a “product” of Scotland.  

People need to move away from this apparent need for each player to be “born and bred” for their worth to be considered equal to players who have never set foot on foreign soil.

The modern world has changed a lot from the days where people stayed within 20 miles of where they were born. People move around these days. Travel is just so much easier now.

It's not about 'born and bred' it's about 'raised and trained'. Are they a product of your country's grassroots rugby system or were they brought over once they were professional (or on the brink of becoming professional) rugby players, either to qualify via residency or because they have some distant familial link?

Duncan Taylor is included in the (+2) in brackets eventhough he is very much dual qualified and spent more time in England than Scotland. At a push you could say Redpath is in a unique situation given his father to make it 17 + 3 but I don't think that would be accurate, I think he's far more English than he is Scottish when it comes to the above definition. It would probably be fairer to call it 19 + 1 but I had included Taylor in the brackets as he at least has some link to Scotland when a boy.

Scotland have more than twice the number of 'not raised or trained within country' players as the next team in the six nations. It is almost half their squad and on any given matchday, half their team. That marks them out as different. It is an important point to raise when discussing the change in Scotland's fortunes from 2011 to 2021 and how that impacts Italy's competitiveness within this tournament.

Considering how much of a disadvantage Italy are by not being part of the UK or having links to the Anglosphere i.e. the British Empire (SA, NZ, Australia) they have done well to have so few foreign players playing for Italy based on residency. 3 of their 'foreign' players i.e. not born or bred in Italy are raised and trained in Italy. Maybe if the Italian Pro14 clubs and the Italian union was wealthier they could fill their two professional teams with southern hemisphere players that qualify on residency but I don't think that is the answer to improving the Italian national team. I don't think Italy should be forced to do what Scotland have done just to avoid relegation from the six nations as that is what Scotland did to improve their fortunes even if they still haven't won the six nations. But that's just my opinion maybe that is the only realistic option Italy can take. If their current U20s players don't make the grade then perhaps the only thing that can save them commercially is by starting a scouting system that goes around New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa and picks up 17, 18, 19 year olds to become future Italian internationals. That would be a shame in my opinion but it might be the only option they have to stay competitive.

I think you're going down the wrong path to try to dismiss the point as some kind of bigotry in order to ignore the stark reality of what has been behind Scotland's recent improvement. If it's bigoted to suggest that international rugby should be representative of a nation rather than the commercial pull to entice foreign professional rugby players to become mercenaries then we're in big trouble (which I actually think we are but that's by the by). A country isn't a multinational corporation even if some people act and want to believe like it is. I don't think it's weird to simply remark on what is reality.

If we're going to talk about relegating Italy then everything has to be on the table. We can't just ignore the various elephants in the room. One of those is foreign players used by other countries, one of those is how Italy were damaged by the changes in European club rugby 7 years ago.

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Post by tigertattie Tue 02 Mar 2021, 9:25 pm

It’s not as simple as that though. For some reason, despite having nearly twice the player pool Scotland has, Italy are well short on the international standard.

What sets Scotland and Italy apart from other 6ns sides is that we both have only 2 pro clubs. A country can have a million registered amateur rugby players but if a tiny percentage of them are playing too flight rugby then your pool to pick from is drastically reduced.

Italy is a football daft country and therefore struggle to get regular fans in the doors. Fans = money. Money = more clubs/opportunities = better rugby = more fans and so we go round again.

Scotland are in a similar boat in that rugby isn’t well supported. Unless it’s Celtic or Rangers, most kids here don’t take the slightest notice.

Scotland have for years though punched above our weight. And that’s without an inflated view of “non Scotland produced” players. If anyone thinks they know why Scotland and even more so Italy struggle to get better results, feel free to apply for a job at the respective unions and share your expertise.
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Post by whatahitson Tue 02 Mar 2021, 9:40 pm

I don't know how facts about the number of foreign players picked by Scotland can be inflated but the fact 'Scotland punch above their weight' is solid claim.

Scotland are one of the traditional rugby nations with a far longer and more mainstream rugby culture than Italy. They benefit greatly from being a constituent part of the United Kingdom just like Wales and to a lesser extent Ireland do as this is the birthplace of the game. Their fee paying schools remain a hotbed of rugby just as is the case in England. That's the main reason they are better than Italy: infrastructure, talent, existing development pathways, and a rugby culture. It's not just money otherwise the USA would be the best rugby team in the world by now. Just like New Zealand are better than England because of their ruthlessly ambitious rugby culture and the fact it attracts the very best men from that nation, eventhough their playing numbers are significantly smaller than England's. That's no great mystery. The issue for any professional player or coach is how to minimise the gap on and off the field to ensure that the most talented team of players doesn't simply win every game. One of those off field options is hiring foreign coaches and players at club level.

Scotland have taken this option to an extreme we haven't seen before in any other six nations team. I would suggest that Scottish fans are uniquely content about this because of their lack of competitiveness from 2000 until the early 2010s, when these changes started to be made, and the devastation at seeing what was once a good national side that would compete for the five nations turned in to an also-ran once professionalism kicked in, Ireland improved greatly, and Wales benefitted from no longer losing players to rugby league. If any other nation had similar numbers of imports, like France did for a time and it quickly led to changes in their qualification rules, the fans wouldn't accept it but Scottish fans are just happy to see their team looking half decent again, so it appears a lot of them don't mind the costs incurred in terms of having a team that actually represents your country's rugby pathways. Not all Scottish fans though. One of the most recent comments on this video is as follows: " s e cluicheadair gu math an th' ann ach chan eil  e Albannach idir" or according to google "he's a good player but he's not Scottish at all".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtZSko8mU9Q

Personally, and again it's just my opinion, I don't want to see Italy be forced to follow the Scotland model just to retain their six nations status. There is a quite clear 4 + 2 split in the tournament between those who have won the six nations and those who haven't. It has only really been within the last 7 years where anyone could argue it has become 5 + 1, or more accurately 4 + 1 + 1, at least until Scotland prove they're genuinely competing with the other 4. This feels like opportunism to basically punish Italy at a period of weakness, before they are able to feel the benefits of what O'Shea did in improving the systems and grassroots of the game, and at a time when Scotland have filled their national team with imports.

Bringing some measured discussion to the emotions I think most of us feel when we see Italy on the end of another pasting is necessary. There is a context for Italy's poor performance over the last 7 years. If they haven't closed the gap back to Scotland, at the very least, in the next 7 years then the argument for relegation becomes much stronger.

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Post by LordDowlais Wed 03 Mar 2021, 7:48 am

Wales have a lot of players who are 100% Welsh playing and coming through the English system, from college level and then age grade at clubs, these players were picked up from Welsh academies and schools by English scouts.

Are we not allowed to cap these players ?

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Post by MonkeyMan Wed 03 Mar 2021, 1:37 pm

I kinda feel that the 5 Nations should have added Argentina in the first place. Say they played at the Nou Camp. There are lot's of Argentinians in Barcelona. A lot the French Catalans who love rugby would travel to watch it. Then you add all the 5 Nations supporters would would travel for the weekend. Just my opinion but it would have been for more progressive than Italy

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Post by lostinwales Wed 03 Mar 2021, 3:10 pm

MonkeyMan wrote:I kinda feel that the 5 Nations should have added Argentina in the first place. Say they played at the Nou Camp. There are lot's of Argentinians in Barcelona. A lot the French Catalans who love rugby would travel to watch it. Then you add all the 5 Nations supporters would would travel for the weekend. Just my opinion but it would have been for more progressive than Italy

Good idea.

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Post by Maine man Wed 03 Mar 2021, 4:31 pm

MonkeyMan wrote:I kinda feel that the 5 Nations should have added Argentina in the first place. Say they played at the Nou Camp. There are lot's of Argentinians in Barcelona. A lot the French Catalans who love rugby would travel to watch it. Then you add all the 5 Nations supporters would would travel for the weekend. Just my opinion but it would have been for more progressive than Italy

Plus back then a large portion of them were playing in Europe

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Post by whatahitson Wed 03 Mar 2021, 6:21 pm

MonkeyMan wrote:I kinda feel that the 5 Nations should have added Argentina in the first place. Say they played at the Nou Camp. There are lot's of Argentinians in Barcelona. A lot the French Catalans who love rugby would travel to watch it. Then you add all the 5 Nations supporters would would travel for the weekend. Just my opinion but it would have been for more progressive than Italy

It's a European competition. This is just wishful 'grass is greener' thinking as well that doesn't consider the fact that things go wrong. There are lots of Argentinians in Barcelona? Well there are a lot of Italians in Italy.

If we look at the u20s team we see that Italy appear to have a better professional set up than Scotland and are closing in on Ireland and Wales. If WR can try to uphold some semblance of nationality as being integral to play for a national rugby side then Scotland won't be able to mitigate Italy's gains by filling half of their team with foreigners from New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia who are superior to their Scottish competition. From there we wouldn't be having a discussion about relegating Italy, we'd have a 3 tiered tournament that is 2 + 2 + 2 with Eng/Fra, Wal/Ire, and Sco/Ita. I don't know how that is worse than adding the south africans as seems to be the plan at the moment. Europe has a cultural death wish in so many ways. It's so strange. It's ok to want a European competition to be played by European teams with European players even if it's not perfect.

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Post by Brendan Wed 03 Mar 2021, 7:36 pm

MonkeyMan wrote:I kinda feel that the 5 Nations should have added Argentina in the first place. Say they played at the Nou Camp. There are lot's of Argentinians in Barcelona. A lot the French Catalans who love rugby would travel to watch it. Then you add all the 5 Nations supporters would would travel for the weekend. Just my opinion but it would have been for more progressive than Italy

Was Agentina stronger then Italy in 2000 in playing terms.  We often forget Italy got their first game against a home nation in 1988 after the first world cup .

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN0SM1UN20151028

For decades rugby in Italy was very much a niche sport, but since it joined Europe's Six Nations championship in 2000 the number of registered players and coaches has climbed to 110,000 from 25,000, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) says.

Aided by the increased media exposure, FIR revenue has increased tenfold to 40 million euros-plus ($45 million) since 2000, making it one of Italy's wealthiest sporting federations

We often forget how small rugby was in Italy in 2000.  It and Japan (maybe Ireland) have seen growth.  And are now starting to reach their potential.  Not sure how much bigger Rugby can get in most of the other T1 nations. Not getting bigger in NZ, SA Eng, WAL. France, Scotland, France, Ireland, Oz and Argentina might see a little but can't see it being much more.

Italy is probably the only country where it's locals playing and growing at underage Japan is hard to tell how much of it is actual Japanese underage growth. The USA who knows but I would back Italy over them.

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Fri 05 Mar 2021, 3:49 pm

Brendan wrote:
MonkeyMan wrote:I kinda feel that the 5 Nations should have added Argentina in the first place. Say they played at the Nou Camp. There are lot's of Argentinians in Barcelona. A lot the French Catalans who love rugby would travel to watch it. Then you add all the 5 Nations supporters would would travel for the weekend. Just my opinion but it would have been for more progressive than Italy

Was Agentina stronger then Italy in 2000 in playing terms.  We often forget Italy got their first game against a home nation in 1988 after the first world cup .

https://www.google.com/amp/s/mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKCN0SM1UN20151028

For decades rugby in Italy was very much a niche sport, but since it joined Europe's Six Nations championship in 2000 the number of registered players and coaches has climbed to 110,000 from 25,000, the Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) says.

Aided by the increased media exposure, FIR revenue has increased tenfold to 40 million euros-plus ($45 million) since 2000, making it one of Italy's wealthiest sporting federations

We often forget how small rugby was in Italy in 2000.  It and Japan (maybe Ireland) have seen growth.  And are now starting to reach their potential.  Not sure how much bigger Rugby can get in most of the other T1 nations.  Not getting bigger in NZ, SA Eng, WAL.  France, Scotland, France, Ireland, Oz and Argentina might see a little but can't see it being much more.

Italy is probably the only country where it's locals playing and growing at underage   Japan is hard to tell how much of it is actual Japanese underage growth.  The USA who knows but I would back Italy over them.
MLR is gaining traction over there albeit very slowly (as expected). Whats most impressive about the MLR to me is that they are already dishing out multi year pro contracts to players, there are players signing 3 year deals for instance. This shows to me just how serious the league is and that's not to mention the quality of players that is already heading over. For Japan I'd wait and see how their new professional leagues go before judging. Before COVID there was talks of them wanting to challenge the Top 14 for player wages and when you see some of the attendances their corporate teams were getting after the world cup it doesn't seem so far fetched. It's an exciting time to be a tier 2 rugby fan at the minute, these new pro leagues propping up are absolutely huge for the growth of rugby around the world.

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