Posted by: fence | August 27, 2007

What’s the point?

So, the final few warm-up matches have been played, and judging by the results it is a case of “same as it ever was”. Ireland haven’t shown well, the British teams have been outplayed, does this mean that only the Southern Hemisphere teams are in with a real chance. With the addition of France I suppose.

And if the Northern Hemisphere’s big names can’t compete with the likes of South Africa what hope is there for some of the less well known countries. Will it be carnage? What real hope do the smaller rugby nations have, considering that the likes of the US Eagles only played one warm-up match, against Munster, and lost?

So should the competition try and reduce the numbers of “minnows” to prevent mis-matches, or is this the only way they can develop? Personally I think that the IRB needs to take action to support the developing teams. Argentina could be a huge force in the world game but aren’t given the chance to perform regularly. Look at how much Italy have come on since joining the Six Nations, isn’t it about time that some of the others were encouraged. Or are we happy to continue with New Zealand as constant favourites.

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Responses

  1. I can see where you’re coming from Fence, but I’m all in favour of having a few minnows in the mix.

    This is one of the few chances that players from the lower ranked nations will get a chance to mix it with the big stars of the game, which surely would be a highlight of their playing careers. Also these days, top ranked teams tend not to put their first choice XV out against the minnows, so it gives a chance to the reserve players to gain caps and game time.

    Then as well, there’s the sponsorship and the opportunity to cause an upset and raise the profile of rugby back home. Remember the Cricket World Cup? Ireland were minnows going into that, yet managed to cause the greatest upset in the history of the tournament. Before you knew it, pubfuls of people back home were glued to cricket matches on the big screen, cheering every run scored or wicket taken by Ireland. And these would have been people who up to then would have thought of cricket as a cissie’s game.

  2. I’m not really objecting to the so-called minnows playing in the World Cup, and I don’t think that the numbers should be scaled back. Rather I think that the IRB should encourage them to play the higher ranking teams more often. They’ll never develop unless they do.

    Maybe even take a leaf out of the cricket-book; afterall, because Ireland did so well don’t we now get to compete in more/better competitions? Is there any similar reward for the rugby teams?

    As you say, this is one of the few chances for the smaller countries to play. Can they really develop if they only get tested every four years?

  3. I think the most glaring case is that of Argentina. That they manage to get to be the 6th ranked team in the world, with only the World Cup and summer/autumn tours is remarkable.

    There’s talk of them joining the Six Nations and being based in Spain for the duration of the tournament. Personally, I think we’re doing just fine with six teams. They’re a Southern Hemisphere team, so they should be admitted to the Tri-Nations if anything.

  4. I don’t think the Six Nations can really expand to fit another team. The club fixtures just can’t allow for it. I agree, they should join the Tri-Nations.


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