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Molehill

International Captain
otoh Namibia is clearly the second best team in Africa and given the IRB (deadnaming organizations is fine) organizes qualifying by continent they would probably get a spot even in a 16-team world cup.
Then you can argue the qualification criteria is a bit screwed, although Football continues to do this too.

I think it's worth looking at what 7's is doing to help grow the game too. Kenya for example are an excellent 7's Team. Does it not make more sense (a bit like cricket) to have a more inclusive World Cup for the shorter/smaller format than the longer/larger one?
 

Uppercut

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It's a tricky one, but I think I have a foolproof solution where everybody wins.

1. Rugby World Cup stays as it is
2. Molehill doesn't watch the games he isn't interested in
 

Molehill

International Captain
It's a tricky one, but I think I have a foolproof solution where everybody wins.

1. Rugby World Cup stays as it is
2. Molehill doesn't watch the games he isn't interested in
1. Fine, but it's still a **** schedule (England currently on a 3 week break before they play another meaningful game).
2. Don't worry, I'm not. But that's not addressing the real issues here.
 

Uppercut

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I just don’t think you’re articulating your problem very well. It’s like ‘rare opportunity for second tier nations that rugby does nothing for during the rest of the 4 year cycle’ vs. ‘muh just feels a bit long innit’.
 

Molehill

International Captain
I just don’t think you’re articulating your problem very well. It’s like ‘rare opportunity for second tier nations that rugby does nothing for during the rest of the 4 year cycle’ vs. ‘muh just feels a bit long innit’.
I think it's gone a bit deeper than that. I've questioned what has been achieved by having 20 Teams rather than 16. As far as I can tell, 4 teams get thrashed each week and in 4 years time we repeat the process. What has this 'rare opportunity' achieved so far? By having those extra teams it has made the group stages longer than they need to be. There is no obvious sign that it is spreading the rugby word and there is no obvious sign that it is helping these teams.

One of the alarming things for me looking at the rankings is how a former Top 16 team in Canada have dropped right away. It almost seems like exposure had the opposite effect there.

As a supporter of Tier 2 Nation, I'd be keen to hear what you think these ritual thrashings achieve, because at the moment, I can't really see any positives. It seems that unless a Tier 2 Nation has significant financial backing and can pick up some South Sea Islanders (Japan), there's no obvious sign of them making a breakthrough.
 

Uppercut

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It's only in cricket where I support a Tier 2 nation (Ireland).

Others might argue with you on those points, but from my POV you're overcomplicating it a little. It doesn't really have to "achieve" anything. It's just fun to see your country play in a World Cup. Most of the time they lose, but that's OK, and the occasional wins are ATG sporting moments. Some fans from bigger nations enjoy watching countries they never usually get the chance to see, especially in a sport like rugby where the rest of the time it's the same handful of countries playing each other all the time. The experience of actually being at the tournament can be a bit richer with more countries involved.

I just feel like you're looking at something that lots of people enjoy and saying "I don't enjoy this, so what's the point of it? Why don't we get rid of it?" I don't really understand how its existence inconveniences you so much.
 

ashley bach

International Captain
Breaking through isn't going to happen overnight for any nation, ever. In fact it's a process that may take many years, but you need to start somewhere.
Frustrating as it may be watching minnows get slayed, the opportunity they get to play at world cups is pure gold for them, whether they compete or not.
 

Molehill

International Captain
It's only in cricket where I support a Tier 2 nation (Ireland).

Others might argue with you on those points, but from my POV you're overcomplicating it a little. It doesn't really have to "achieve" anything. It's just fun to see your country play in a World Cup. Most of the time they lose, but that's OK, and the occasional wins are ATG sporting moments. Some fans from bigger nations enjoy watching countries they never usually get the chance to see, especially in a sport like rugby where the rest of the time it's the same handful of countries playing each other all the time. The experience of actually being at the tournament can be a bit richer with more countries involved.

I just feel like you're looking at something that lots of people enjoy and saying "I don't enjoy this, so what's the point of it? Why don't we get rid of it?" I don't really understand how its existence inconveniences you so much.
In Cricket, the Tier 2 Nations are far closer in quality to the top dogs than in Rugby. There are also elements in Cricket whereby if one player has a dream day, they can win their teams a match pretty much singlehandedly (O Brien for example). But that's not going to happen in rugby.

I agree with you that in cricket more Tier 2 Nations should be at the World Cup, but I just don't see the point in rugby. The gulf in class is too big and despite exposure, nothing has changed.
 

Furball

Evil Scotsman
In Cricket, the Tier 2 Nations are far closer in quality to the top dogs than in Rugby. There are also elements in Cricket whereby if one player has a dream day, they can win their teams a match pretty much singlehandedly (O Brien for example). But that's not going to happen in rugby.

I agree with you that in cricket more Tier 2 Nations should be at the World Cup, but I just don't see the point in rugby. The gulf in class is too big and despite exposure, nothing has changed.
Again, that comes down to the nature of the sport. Rugby is a game which tends to reward set piece excellence and possession in the opposition's territory.
 

BoyBrumby

Englishman
It may very well appear slow and pointless but without exposure nothing will ever change.
Yeah, that's pretty much my take too.

Playing in the WC alone isn't going to improve standards, only regular games against Tier 1 nations will do that, but given the reluctance of the big boys to play quote-unquote "lesser" nations outside of it the tournament is the only chance they get.

We can probably all agree it's unfortunate Italy haven't progressed as one might've hoped since their inclusion into the 6 Nations, but their relative failure isn't reason alone to stop trying to expand the game's base.

Argentina have demonstrably become a lot more competitive since they turned the old Tri Nations into the Rugby Championship and no Pacific Islanders have been harmed in their improvement. In fact I think they (along with maybe RSA) have the only 100% home born and raised squads in France.

Plus I bet just being at the WC makes (say) Chilean or Portuguese union fans' years; they might cop a thrashing but I'd be surprised if they consider it pointless. Chile qualified ahead of Canada, who I'm sadly old enough to remember making the quarter-finals way back when.
 

Ali TT

International Debutant
I think it's gone a bit deeper than that. I've questioned what has been achieved by having 20 Teams rather than 16. As far as I can tell, 4 teams get thrashed each week and in 4 years time we repeat the process. What has this 'rare opportunity' achieved so far? By having those extra teams it has made the group stages longer than they need to be. There is no obvious sign that it is spreading the rugby word and there is no obvious sign that it is helping these teams.

One of the alarming things for me looking at the rankings is how a former Top 16 team in Canada have dropped right away. It almost seems like exposure had the opposite effect there.

As a supporter of Tier 2 Nation, I'd be keen to hear what you think these ritual thrashings achieve, because at the moment, I can't really see any positives. It seems that unless a Tier 2 Nation has significant financial backing and can pick up some South Sea Islanders (Japan), there's no obvious sign of them making a breakthrough.
I think the move to professionalism killed off rugby in a few countries like Canada and Romania and might even have increased the gap between the top 8 og nations and the next tier until Argentina stepped across. I don't think it's all quite as hopeless as you make out. Chile, Uruguay and Portugal are at least staying in games while Georgia have steadily improved over the past decade. It wouldn't surprise me if one of these sides follows Japan's example at a future WC. And at least one thing, the WC is a shop window for the better lower tier players to get professional contracts.

Given how world rugby has unforgivably exploited the Island teams, treating them as circus curiosities every 4 years, while stealing their talent in the intervening time, the least it can do is allow some minnows their moment in the WC.
 

Howe_zat

Audio File
In Cricket, the Tier 2 Nations are far closer in quality to the top dogs than in Rugby. There are also elements in Cricket whereby if one player has a dream day, they can win their teams a match pretty much singlehandedly (O Brien for example). But that's not going to happen in rugby.

I agree with you that in cricket more Tier 2 Nations should be at the World Cup, but I just don't see the point in rugby. The gulf in class is too big and despite exposure, nothing has changed.
You just keep repeating over and over again that whether or not tier 2 nations are getting closer is somehow the crux of the argument and not listening to all the posts telling you that's not actually the point.
 

GotSpin

Hall of Fame Member
I think the move to professionalism killed off rugby in a few countries like Canada and Romania and might even have increased the gap between the top 8 og nations and the next tier until Argentina stepped across. I don't think it's all quite as hopeless as you make out. Chile, Uruguay and Portugal are at least staying in games while Georgia have steadily improved over the past decade. It wouldn't surprise me if one of these sides follows Japan's example at a future WC. And at least one thing, the WC is a shop window for the better lower tier players to get professional contracts.

Given how world rugby has unforgivably exploited the Island teams, treating them as circus curiosities every 4 years, while stealing their talent in the intervening time, the least it can do is allow some minnows their moment in the WC.
Yeah absolutely. Professionalism in Argentina essentially relies upon overseas clubs. I imagine its even more important for Chile & Uruguay
 

Molehill

International Captain
You just keep repeating over and over again that whether or not tier 2 nations are getting closer is somehow the crux of the argument and not listening to all the posts telling you that's not actually the point.
I'm listening, I'm just not being convinced. Is the World Cup the pinnacle of the sport to find out which is the best team in the world, or is it something for a few fans of Tier 2 (Tier 3 might be a better description) to 'enjoy' watching their team get thrashed?

If the point of the World Cup is to spread the rugby word, introduce other nations to the sport, create a wider competition where more teams are equal then tell me what it has achieved over the last 40 years? I'm suggesting that whilst it's lovely to say nice things about having Tier 2 sides in the comp, what has really changed since 1987? 16 teams played in 1987, 13 of those 16 (USA, Canada, Zimbabwe) are playing in 2023. When it first went to 20 teams in 1999 you find 18 (Portugal for Spain and Chile for Canada) are still the same. A reminder that still only 5 teams have contested a Final, and if Ireland don't make it this year, then I fancy it will stay at 5 for another 40 odd years.

The discussion originated from whether having 20 teams creates a decent format for the competition. It clearly doesn't. The same countries are receiving exposure every World Cup and yet nothing really changes.

Yeah absolutely. Professionalism in Argentina essentially relies upon overseas clubs. I imagine its even more important for Chile & Uruguay
I get this point, and a good example would be the Uruguayan scrum half Arata who picked up a deal with Castre after the 2019 World Cup. However, he would still have been part of a 16 Team World Cup. It remains to be seen how many Romanians/Portuguese/Chileans/Namibians get picked up after this comp.
 

Molehill

International Captain
Romania is a prop factory with more than 20 playing professionally in Europe
Then I'm guessing that the 5 or 6 they've brought to this World Cup already have club contracts and there's a decent scouting network already picking up the rest. So I doubt exposure is key for them.
 

Uppercut

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I'm listening, I'm just not being convinced.
It's more that you're ignoring the question than ignoring the argument though. What harm is including the extra teams actually doing? Is it somehow obstructing the World Cup in finding out which is the best team in the world?

You're reminding me a little bit of the anti gay marriage arguments from 10 years ago. I say that without wanting to criticise you too harshly, or to conflate the two issues in anyway. It's just that something that you have no obligation to be involved in is causing you bother, but you're totally unable to articulate why.

Or to put it another way: you're repeatedly arguing that the benefits are lower than advertised, but aren't engaging with the fact that the costs are essentially zero.
 
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