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Pool D - France, Ireland, Italy, Canada, Romania

WalkingWicket

State 12th Man
Going to see Canada vs Fiji in a warm-up match tomorrow at the Stoop, looking forward to it.

Otherwise, Group D is garbage - the only possible slip-up game would be France-Italy, trotting out the usual trope of 'which France turns up'. Two qualifiers nailed on. Now as for the order...
 

Hurricane

Hall of Fame Member
Rugby Canada is still dining out on 1991. They havn't realised though that Gareth Rees is a once in a life time player and was arguably the best 1st 5 in the world at the time.

My dream is for Rugby Canada and USA Rugby to combine. Might be able to then given the likes of Samoa a good game and be worthwhile for a top 8 team to tour them once per year.

Rugby has very real grass roots support in North America. Cricket has no chance of being adopted there and is played by the sons of commonwealth immigrants or the immigrants themselves.
 

ripper868

Cricketer Of The Year
If you look at the Pacific Nations Cup this year you would see Canada and USA made great accounts of themselves and have come a long way, especially now with the introduction of 7's to the Olympics. Just to back up that Canada and USA deserve to stand on their own feet, their results in the 2015 PNC were thus:
USA:
15-13 win v Canada
19-33 loss v Tonga
23-18 win v Japan
16-21 loss to Samoa

Canada:
13-15 Loss to USA
20-21 loss to Samoa
18-28 loss to Tonga
6-20 loss to Japan

Certainly not whipping boys that would see a need for merging, and I'd suggest they are already giving the likes of Samoa a 'good game'.
.
 

Hurricane

Hall of Fame Member
If you look at the Pacific Nations Cup this year you would see Canada and USA made great accounts of themselves and have come a long way, especially now with the introduction of 7's to the Olympics. Just to back up that Canada and USA deserve to stand on their own feet, their results in the 2015 PNC were thus:
USA:
15-13 win v Canada
19-33 loss v Tonga
23-18 win v Japan
16-21 loss to Samoa

Canada:
13-15 Loss to USA
20-21 loss to Samoa
18-28 loss to Tonga
6-20 loss to Japan

Certainly not whipping boys that would see a need for merging, and I'd suggest they are already giving the likes of Samoa a 'good game'.
.
They would be as good as Scotland if they merged. Which would get them a lot more tours and corporate sponsorship.
 

ripper868

Cricketer Of The Year
Logistically a nightmare though. And they'll be as good as Scotland in their own right eventually. Japan for example have gone from being the 145-0 drubbing team to a well respected team that many think could knock over Scotland in their pool match - things take time, let the countries be themselves. Sure, have a one off "North America" team for a tour, similar to the British & Irish Lions, but on't make that the norm.

A merger halves the international opportunities, and devalues both brands. Canada and USA are two very different markets as well, Canada with the politeness, USA with the Guns Guns Guns.

Anyway, I'll leave it there, though I'd love to hear how logistically you would merge the 2 countries - where would the admin base be? where would training base be? Hard enough in itself given the geography of both countries.
 

Hurricane

Hall of Fame Member
Logistically a nightmare though. And they'll be as good as Scotland in their own right eventually. Japan for example have gone from being the 145-0 drubbing team to a well respected team that many think could knock over Scotland in their pool match - things take time, let the countries be themselves. Sure, have a one off "North America" team for a tour, similar to the British & Irish Lions, but on't make that the norm.

A merger halves the international opportunities, and devalues both brands. Canada and USA are two very different markets as well, Canada with the politeness, USA with the Guns Guns Guns.

Anyway, I'll leave it there, though I'd love to hear how logistically you would merge the 2 countries - where would the admin base be? where would training base be? Hard enough in itself given the geography of both countries.
I am very passionate about this topic and it is one of my hobby horses.

Rugby has huge potential in North America. I turned up at UBC in Vancouver to watch the churchill cup along with 5 thousand Canadian Fans. They were all rugby people watching. Real rugby people. They knew when to cheer and the comments being made around me were just as sage as you or I talking and in some cases better. The major difference was they all had Canadian accents. Real Canadians were watching. This sport is played at the grass roots level there.

When I went to school in Chicago I played on the MBA rugby team. We played games against country sides throughout Illinois in tiny towns. These USA farmers were playing rugby.
Rugby has a real chance in North America.

The West Indies have joined forces for Cricket despite the fact Jamaica in particular could put out a strong team by itself.

There are two sides to North America. All the good rugby is played on the West Coast, because it only freezes over for 3 weeks a year. The other states/provinces lose many months of down time. If you are any good at rugby you move out west to play it.

Rugby on Vancouver Island rivals ice hockey for popularity. Big sport.

As I sat there watching the Canada vs USA Churchill cup semi final to see who would play England in the final, I kept noticing that Canada were better all over the field that the USA - except the USA had two to three guys who were keeping them in it.

And that is when I realised that a Canada team plus those 2-3 USA team members would be superior to anything Canada could put out by itself.

Where would it be headquartered? Split offices. There would still be a Rugby Canada and a USA rugby responsible for developing grass roots rugby - but just one international team.

If rugby gets big in the United States then big things will happen for our sport.

Here is my cute story to finish with. During rugby training there is usually a pep talk at the start of the session. One session started with "today chaps we are going to practice scoring tries". "You must remember to touch the ball down in the in goal area". So we played a game of touch rugby whenever anyone went in to score, 10 guys would yell at you to touch the ball down.
"Touch it down".

Our wing was an ex american football player and absolutely had wheels.
 

ripper868

Cricketer Of The Year
I understand the passion mate, and respect that, I just think that both the USA and Canada have now reached a level where a merger would not be neccessary, the last few years the USA have had the wood on Canada as well, if anything Canada has gone slightly backwards while the USA has made great leaps forward. Rugby will be huge in the USA one day, never to an American football scale but with both Canada and the US qualifying for the World Cup off their own backs, I just don't see a need to merge them. Canada is Canada, USA is USA. The West Indies example doesn't really wash for me, a collection of tiny island nations pooling resources makes sense, two large countries with strong population levels/infrastructure does.

That said, I wouldn't want Tonga, Samoa and Fiji to merge, each brings something special to world cup.
 

marc71178

Eyes not spreadsheets
Aren't the USA 7s team becoming quite a reasonable side with an eye to the Olympics? Don't see the point in stopping that growth now.
 

Fuller Pilch

International Vice-Captain
That is silly to merge. The USA actually pushed Australia recently and they are decent at 7s now. Both countries (USA esp) are also extremely patriotic
 

Hurricane

Hall of Fame Member
That is silly to merge. The USA actually pushed Australia recently and they are decent at 7s now. Both countries (USA esp) are also extremely patriotic
DWTA.

The future of rugby is stake here. Give North America a competitive team and only good things will happen.

There is a massive difference between the top 8-9 countries in the world and the next 3-4 teams. USA and Canada are going to be in those next 3-4 teams for the next 20 years unless they combine forces.

Together they can beat Scotland. Apart they would each lose by 10 points.

Think Corporate sponsorship deals and money being poured into grass roots rugby.

This has been a dream of mine for 15 years.
 

Fuller Pilch

International Vice-Captain
What are Romania like? Would be good to extend the 6 Nations to 8 with 2 pools. Georgia are already at least as good as Scotland and Italy.
 

ripper868

Cricketer Of The Year
This is my hobby horse. Will not yield ground on it.
To be fair mate, you need ground before it can be yielded. Should we also not just combine all the Asian nations, all the smaller Oceania nations, all the South American, African, fringe European nations. Let's just make it a 7 zone world cup. AUS/NZ v Africa v Europe v North America v South America v Oceania v Asia.

Japan's win over South Africa shows what can happen with sustained growth and devlopment, it may well take 20 years for USA and Canada to compete at the top level, but so be it - a gimmick (and that's exactly how it would be seen) where the teams are combined would be farcical.
 

Hurricane

Hall of Fame Member
To be fair mate, you need ground before it can be yielded. Should we also not just combine all the Asian nations, all the smaller Oceania nations, all the South American, African, fringe European nations. Let's just make it a 7 zone world cup. AUS/NZ v Africa v Europe v North America v South America v Oceania v Asia.

Japan's win over South Africa shows what can happen with sustained growth and devlopment, it may well take 20 years for USA and Canada to compete at the top level, but so be it - a gimmick (and that's exactly how it would be seen) where the teams are combined would be farcical.
Wow - you are equally passionate in the other direction. Fair dues to your point. Still Japan got their win in part due to Naturalised players who play in their lucrative club competition. That victory is what, their 2nd in 20 years at a world cup.

Are the West Indies a gimmick because they are a joined up group of countries?

I would expand my idea as well by the way in both cricket and rugby. I wouldn't stop at just USA and Canada. I would look for other good fits. I wouldn't force two countries together where they had no connection but USA and Canada are North America. And both countries heavily identify with each other (even though are proud to be different).

Other mergers - The Islands in rugby. Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji have been nearly good enough since the 1980s. They could definitely compete as a combined side. New Zealand recently consented to play a match against Samoa in Samoa. We won but it was a good game. There is no talk of us going back there.
We would go back to the Islands if they could threaten to beat us. Money would pour into their development and players would choose to play for them instead of the All Blacks. We have had goodness knows how many Island boys suit up for us because they want to play at the highest level. They can't get that playing for Samoa at least not consistently.

Likewise if you were a world class player in Canada would you enjoy your potential matches:

This is who they played in 2014:
June 7, vs. Japan (Pacific Nations Cup), at Burnaby, L 34-25
June 14, vs. Scotland, at Toronto, L 19-17
June 21, vs. USA (Pacific Nations Cup), at Sacramento, L 38-35
Nov 2, vs. RFU Championship XV, at Worcester, L 28-23
Nov 7, vs. Namibia, at Colwyn Bay, Wales, W 17-13
Nov 14, vs. Samoa, at Vannes, France L 23-13
Nov 22, vs. Romania, at Bucharest, L 18-9

If they combined with USA number 1 they would win more, number 2 they would get more test matches so they can develop more.

Are there down sides to my idea of combining USA and Canada. Absolutely. Each team would have to give up some of its patriotism. Fans would get over that though and learn to cheer on the North American side.

My final point is this. Corporate sponsorship.

If USA and Canada can combine and actually win. They will get mega dollars invested in them. The grass roots development in their game would take off.

I appreciate that you will never agree to this idea. But only one of us is a Canadian citizen out of the two of us and that is me. I have been to ice hockey games. I have frozen in minus twenty degree temperatures. I have played club rugby in Canada and heard some young Canuck dream of getting his parents to let him to travel to New Zealand and attend Auckland Grammar.

I have the best interests of Canadian rugby at heart moreso than you do because unless I am mistaken you have never been there. I was there for 16 years. I also played rugby in the heartland of mid western USA.

That is my recommendation as unpopular as it may sound. The only problem with my idea as I see it is that it is different and people don't like different ideas.
 

Bahnz

International Coach
Wow - you are equally passionate in the other direction. Fair dues to your point. Still Japan got their win in part due to Naturalised players who play in their lucrative club competition. That victory is what, their 2nd in 20 years at a world cup.

Are the West Indies a gimmick because they are a joined up group of countries?
Wi is a very special case though. The WI cricket team was formed at a time when all of the Carribean islands were properties of the British empire - so having one team for the region kinda made sense given that they were all fundamentally governed by the same nation.

Over the ensuing decades the team became apart of the combined cultural fabric of the region, so that it continued to persist even after the political reality that lead to the team's formation had ceased.

I can't think of many - or really any - other cases of seperate countries coming together to play as a combined side in international sport. Oh - Britain in the Olympics - but again there's the historical union of those nations.

I would expand my idea as well by the way in both cricket and rugby. I wouldn't stop at just USA and Canada. I would look for other good fits. I wouldn't force two countries together where they had no connection but USA and Canada are North America. And both countries heavily identify with each other (even though are proud to be different).

Other mergers - The Islands in rugby. Tonga, Samoa, and Fiji have been nearly good enough since the 1980s. They could definitely compete as a combined side. New Zealand recently consented to play a match against Samoa in Samoa. We won but it was a good game. There is no talk of us going back there.
We would go back to the Islands if they could threaten to beat us. Money would pour into their development and players would choose to play for them instead of the All Blacks. We have had goodness knows how many Island boys suit up for us because they want to play at the highest level. They can't get that playing for Samoa at least not consistently.
Nah. We go back to the Northern Hemisphere every winter even though Scotland, Ireland and Wales combined have only managed to beat us twice in the last 100 years.

The competitiveness of the Pacific Island nations isn't the problem. It's the financial side of the equation that is stopping us from making regular trips to the islands. The prospective audience for games against the Pacific Islands is tiny (especially given the games are played in the middle of the night for the all important European market).

What's more, a combined PI team was already tried in the 00's, and a quick look at the wikipedia page for their results showed that - after a positive start - they actually were less competitive than their constituent parts over the same period. I don't know why that was - maybe they didn't have their best players available, or maybe the players struggle to summon the motivation when playing for a side that didn't really represent anything. Outside of New Zealand, there's no real sense of shared identity or collective history to hold a PI team together (at least not in the way that there is for WI). I don't think it really made much money for the PI unions either.

My final point is this. Corporate sponsorship.

If USA and Canada can combine and actually win. They will get mega dollars invested in them. The grass roots development in their game would take off.

I appreciate that you will never agree to this idea. But only one of us is a Canadian citizen out of the two of us and that is me. I have been to ice hockey games. I have frozen in minus twenty degree temperatures. I have played club rugby in Canada and heard some young Canuck dream of getting his parents to let him to travel to New Zealand and attend Auckland Grammar.

I have the best interests of Canadian rugby at heart moreso than you do because unless I am mistaken you have never been there. I was there for 16 years. I also played rugby in the heartland of mid western USA.

That is my recommendation as unpopular as it may sound. The only problem with my idea as I see it is that it is different and people don't like different ideas.
And Hurricane, just because you have lived in Canada and legimately have Canadian rugby's best interests at heart, I don't think you should assume that the majority - or even a significant minority of NA rugby fans would feel the same way as you do. Or that the broader american public would get behind a combined team. I think there's a very strong chance that it would be seen as a bizarre arrangement - and a concession to the weakness of the two national sides (especially given that the US and Canada haven't had combined teams for any sports in the last 100 years or so as far as I'm aware). For this reason I have my doubts as to whether a NA team would generate any significant increase in sponsorship and wealth for the constituent unions - even if it did lead to an improvement in results.
 
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