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A new tournament: "the 4N"



Hi guys,
This is part of a post in the forum: Argentina (pool D); you can take a look in that forum for the previous of this post. We were having a discussion on how Argentina should be included in the 6N or the 3N, how Pumas deserve it, and how economical interests remain putting a foot stepping onto Argentinian's wills.
I had an idea (the answer to user 'ferenzo' that I include here) about a new tournament with American nations.
Yes yes, this is very difficult, but please read it and post your comments.
Please when doing it, think about the benefits of rugby as a sport, not in your individual team interest's
Thanks ;)

QUOTE(ferenzo @ Sep 11 2007, 10:05 PM)

Argentina, have play the 6 nations at home in spain !!!!!

The other teams in america (usa-canada-urugay) are inferior in level to play against Argentina in a tournament

Absolutely true! but if europeans and 3N guys keep closing the door to Arg, we cannot wait 20 years to make it happen. We loose playing a tournament with usa canada and urug, but only in the short term. In the long term we gain a lot, likewise the other 3 countries will (look Italy how they improved).

Don't be selfish chamigo! Actually is the same short term disadvantage for the 6N or 3N what they use as excuse (de acuerdo, les estamos demostrando que estamos a su nivel) but now only at economic level (it's all about money).
In that regard, Can and Usa has loads of money and can help, in an indirect way, to improve the institucionalization (o como joraca se escriba en ingles) of an argentinian professional leage, and also grow a new tournament that in 10 years can be at 6N level. Easy as I put it. Canada and USA demonstrated that with a little more professionalism and experience they can be a good competitive team. Uruguay as well are good enough to start. If you want all teams to be 'All blacks' level to start a tournament, it doesn't make sense at all.

You want your players playing in your country. If we do not develop profesionalism in ARgentina our good players will remain playing in europe for ever. From an argentinian (as country, not as team) economic point of view, you also want the revenues of the tournament to benefit your economy, not Spain's or Holland's (who also offered to be home for Arg in a possible 7N).
Even more things to say (this is turning to long, but I really feel that this American 4N is a good alternative) from the rugby community point of view this will help develop this lovely sport, helping 3 other nations to grow at high level, and making it less boring to the people: with this I mean that a 7N is very complicated for the schedule, while a 3N is turning too boring playing each other million times. I've read this several times in southern hemysphere's rugby forums.

To finish, what about this:
6N - 3N - 4N and at the end, a tournament among the 3 champions (a 3B stating for the 3 Best teams), every year. That woukd be great, and you will see Pumas playing this tournament for years until one of the other 3 americans reach our level and beat us.

I really expect comments from you guys about this.
Isn´t a bad idea, we should send Argentina A just like in the Churchill Cup (which includes Canada and USA always). Very interesting the 3B stuff :cheers:

By the way I think you are confusing the Netherlands (Holland) with Belgium where we made the preparation for the world cup (including a friendly test against Belgium VX - some french players involved -).
Isn´t a bad idea, we should send Argentina A just like in the Churchill Cup (which includes Canada and USA always). Very interesting the 3B stuff :cheers:

By the way I think you are confusing the Netherlands (Holland) with Belgium where we made the preparation for the world cup (including a friendly test against Belgium VX - some french players involved -).

Yep... my mistake (I am doing bad with geography... remember when I told you about your "French flag" :wall: )

Somebody moved the forum to "General Rugby" from "France 2007", which makes more sense... :rolleyes:
I've always thought fairly highly of the Puma's but now certainly I believe they should be included in the Tri-Nations. I don't care about the geographical problems, they need to be in the tournament. Argentina won't gain a thing from playing USA, Canada and Uraguay. And like wise USA and Canada won't gain as much from playing Argentina as they will from playing a selection of sides in the Churchill cup. That's not a slag on Argentina, because clearly they would be the best side in the Churchill Cup, but because they play a variety of 'A' sides and the NZ Moari. This exposes the two NA sides to multiple styles of rugby and different types of players. Should Argentina wish to put an 'A' side into the tournament than so be it. I do believe than Argentina 'A' is currently in a different tournament already.

I looked it up Argentina 'A' is in the Nations Cup which also has Romania, Georgia, "Emerging Boks" and Italy 'A'.
Argentina need to be added to the Tri Nations. The schedule in the NH is too crammed in with Six Nations fixtures already to suddenly turn it into a Seven Nations tournament.

In any case, the Tri Nations needs a shot in the arm, Argentina would be a boost to flagging crowd attendences, advertising and television revenue as well as adding Buenos Aires as a major rugby destination (and possibly the best place out of all the 4N to get drunk in and pull a bird, doing the tango easily beats pulling a sheep farmer's daughter any day!)
Apologies in advance, this might be long.

I agree that Argentina should not be based overseas. The whole idea of having Argentina taking part in a big competition (like the 6N and 3N) is to increase the skill of the team, to increase the revenue earned for the nation, but to more importantly increase interest in the sport.

Rugby in Argentina wouldn't see much return from the Pumas taking part in the 6 nations as the games would be played at uncommon times for Argentinians to watch and it would simply be the players contracted to Europe just getting more game time. I don't think that this scenario would be the best way to grow the game back home?

Also, the northern hemisphere playing calander is also already over stretched as it is. Adding another week to the competition AND removing the Argentinian players from the club competitions would never get passed by Club bosses in the UK and France and Italy.

Argentina joining the Tri-Nations at the moment is also not a feasible idea. The top players (again based in Europe) would be right in the middle of their only off-season when the 4 nations would be on. Therefore you either have to turn a blind eye to player burnout or play an Amateur Argentinian side made up of Argentinian based players. An amateur team simply wouldn't compete, and the pro's would not be able to take part. So this scenario wouldn't work either.

The idea of an American 4 nations (if played during the same weeks as the 6 nations) could work. The best players SHOULD be available to take part (but again no promises). The quality of the tournament wouldn't be the greatest as most players taking part would currently be amateurs. Whether this tournament could be economically sustainable is the big problem. Does the sport have a big enough following in these countries to sustain the tournament?

Sure, Argentinean rugby is strongly supported when they play in B.A. But would the USA, Canada and Uraguay get anything close to enough sponsorship money/gate takings to break even? The revenue generated from the World Cup could be directed by the IRB into this tournament. But if Argentina was offered the three options of playing in the 6N, 3N or American nations what do you think they would choose. I think the American option would be the least favoured as revenue would be less and the level of play would be less.

I think Argentina would be best served playing 3N rugby personally. They could be based at home, increasing the hype of the team. They will also be playing constantly against the top ranked teams in the world (currently 1,2,3) giving them more difficult matches than the 6N teams and drawing more interest from the fans. Revenues, whilst being less than that of Europe, would be going straight into the Argentinian economy.

The big problem the lack of available professional players.

This requires a new global playing calander (with the 6N and new 4N played simultaneously) and/or a professional domestic comp in Argentina, to increase the number of quality rugby players at home.

Personally I would like to see the introduction of two 6week global Test Match playing windows. One in June and one in November (like we have currently).

The 6nations and 3nations should both be moved to the June window. This allows the current 6nations window to be just for club rugby in the north. Similarly, in the June and November windows international rugby takes complete priority.

Create a new 6nations for the South:

Argentina - For reasons allready discussed
South Africa - Current SANZAR partner
Japan - Huge economic potential. Large population base. Professional domestic league
Australia - Current SANZAR partner
Pacific Barbarians - Small economically but strong player base+exciting play
New Zealand - Current SANZAR partner

Single round robin in both tournaments (=5weeks of play) with one weeks preparation/bye (total=6weeks).

This means the current 3nations teams only play each other once, rather than 6 times. How important would those games then become?!

Rugby in Japan, Argentina and the Pacific could then also flourish. Argentina for the reason allready discussed. Japan would get harder opposition but would take time to develop, like Italy, but would gain a far stronger public following. And the Pacific nations would benefit immensly from the new money they would receive, and finally the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian unions could afford to keep their players from leaving overseas.

The SANZAR nations might loose their monopoly, but they would also have a refreshing competition with far greater interest than the repeditive current setup. They would also benefit from the massive markets of Argentina and Japan.

Every year before and after a World Cup the 6 week window in November is dedicated to tours (old school style!!)

Teams travel the world with extended squads and play tests on weekends and exhibition games (against club teams) midweek. Economically this could work on a North/South alternating basis to reduce travel times/costs and player fatigue. As no teams would see each other more than once in a year, the hype around any touring team would be huge!

Less is more. This setup would see a national team playing 11 test matches a year with 4/5 mid week exhibition games. Every test match would include the best possible players and there would be no issues with weakened squads diluting the quality and importance of test rugby.

Every two years after the world cup (and between the years involving the tours discussed above) the 6week November window would play host to the club world cup. This event would ideally include 2 teams from the domestic club competition of each of the 12 nations taking part in the two 6 nations comps, plus any others representing the top20 nations worldwide, USA, Canada etc. The tournament is based on the previous seasons rankings from the domestic club comp (French Top14, Celtic League etc) and all rights are owned and opperated by the IRB (the same as the current world cup).

This would be another major revenue earner for the IRB and would add incentives and interest to club rugby worldwide. This would also stem the tide of the player drift north, as player would again have the opportunity to play on a world stage, but to instead represent their local club.

Thoughts? Other than I write comments that are too long!
I'm not sure about a combined Pacific Island team and Japan. How will a Pacific Barbarian team benefit to each 3 Pacific Island nation on their own? And Japan...well they'll get thrashed every week by the big 3.
The only problem with having a six nations setup with the PI's, Japan and Argentina is the travel problems it will create with travelling to South Africa. They seem the odd team out here, with all the other sides being from the Pacific rim.

If South Africa dropped out of the 3N and joined the Northern Hemisphere 6N, the tournament would be much better suited geographically. By doing this, you could also open up the possibility of a North American side entering the competition, comprising of both the USA and Canada, at least until they can raise themselves up to the level where they can compete against the top tier nations independently.

This would be harsh on South Africa but would also be far better for developing rugby in the pacific, especially if it tied in with some sort of Super Rugby competition.
I don't realistically see any alternative to combining the 3 pacific teams.

Unless the IRB subsidised them they simply wouldnt have the economy to compete in a professional environment. If you're suggesting that Japan would be heavily beaten (and I agree) then I'd suggest so would each of the Island teams if left separate. Just look at the Pacific 6nations this year.

I agree that Japan would take some big losses, as did Italy in the earlier 6nations (and still currently). But I believe that Japan has more potential than the Island team to get better. The Island nations have massive participation rates per capita and would struggle to find any more room to grow their player base. They would benefit greatly from more money, but therein lies the problem.

Looking at the bigger picture, you couldn't invite the pacific teams to the table without creating a way to offset thier weak financial situation. The added money that Japan would bring would subsidise the financial burden of the Pacific teams.

Another factor in Japan's favour is the new Experimental Laws. After watching alot of the ARC I believe its enevitable that most of these will be put through by the IRB in the near future. These laws make life easier for the traditionally smaller players and promote speed more than bulk. This will act as a catalyst for improving the effectivness of Japan's playing style.
Japan has much more potential, specifically with a league system becoming more and more professionalised as the days go by, being packed with teams owned and backed by big corporations and thus gauranteeing funding and removing the need for the Japanese RFU to having to fund anything other than the national team and grassroots initiatives.
I believe that Argentina must go to seven nations, since 90% of pumas play in the leagues of France and England, and leave to Argentina for the players of the Argentina league and plus the nonhabitual players in the Pumas.

Since to put to Argentina in the three nations (four with Argentina: D), it caused problems with european fixture (clubs) and many expenses of trips (many kilometers) for the UAR that is amateur.

I don't realistically see any alternative to combining the 3 pacific teams.

If you're suggesting that Japan would be heavily beaten (and I agree) then I'd suggest so would each of the Island teams if left separate. Just look at the Pacific 6nations this year.

Of course the island teams would end up with the same result as Japan, no doubt about that. But I'm suggesting that they, Pacific Islanders, already play their professional carreers seperated and away from each other. Having a mix team would spoil it more. I think they should have their own team playing together somehow. Take a look at Fiji, Tonga and Manu Samoa's team at the world cup. They are selected from across Europe, from New Zealand and other parts of the world I wouldn't know of. ;) But yeah seriously they should be playing together, it'll only make them stronger. What did they get from the previous Pacific Island team a few years ago? pretty much nothing at all.
I believe that Argentina must go to seven nations, since 90% of pumas play in the leagues of France and England, and leave to Argentina 'A' for the players of the Argentina league and plus the nonhabitual players in the Pumas.

Since to put to Argentina in the three nations (four with Argentina: D), it caused problems with european fixture (clubs) and many expenses of trips (many kilometers) for the UAR that is amateur.


Important correction :lol2tn:
I believe that Argentina must go to seven nations, since 90% of pumas play in the leagues of France and England, and leave to Argentina for the players of the Argentina league and plus the nonhabitual players in the Pumas.
I think to go into the six nations won't realy help Argentina as much as it they joined the tri nations, as lets be honest, the gap year in, year out between the two competitions is pretty large, despite what the NH media will tell you. Let Europe wallow in thier mediocrity and bring your players over to join our Super 14 competition too :) Two or three Argentinian based teams would be perfect...
A Tri-Nations turned Four-Nations would be wonderful no doubt about that! But don't youy think the time zone difference would cause terrible jet lag? You know, travel fatigue. Thats what the boks claim everytime they fly away from home, or when te Kiwis and Wallabies fly to Bok land.
The complaints about 3N distances travelled are unfounded.

AUS - SA -> 11,000 KM
NZ - SA -> 11,763 KM
ARG - SA -> 6,889 KM
ARG - NZ -> 10,329 KM
ARG - AUS -> 11,781 KM
I would really enjoy seeing a team from the americas in the tri nations it would really add to the growth of rugby as well. its a win win
There's been some good discussion so far. Clearly Argentina are the side who most deserve entry to one of the big two annual tournaments but I think more should be done for all emerging nations to ensure rugby becomes a true global game rather than the current setup.

Ideally, a global calender would be the first step in achieving this. At present, some players from smaller nations are concentrating on their club careers at the expense of the international game because, well, European clubs pay their wages. If there was a global calender and a couple of proper international windows, Tonga's (for example) international fixtures wouldn't clash with, say, Toulouse's domestic obligations and there would be a far smaller club v country debate.

Unfortunately, that idea is fanciful. Being more realistic, a massive problem the weaker nations (the non 6 Nations and Tri Nations teams) and Argentina face is a lack of regular high level competition. Competitions like the Churchill Cup and Pacific 5 Nations are a help but they don't fully address the problem. For example, the USA's only fixture at home this year was against Munster. While the attendence was relatively high (around 8000) paid in, one home game isn't enough to cultivate an audience for rugby.

My proposals would be as follows:
1. Keep the World Cup at 20 teams and create a 2nd tier tournament.
The current situation where each side is guaranteed four games is ideal. Sure, there will be mismatches (like Australia against Japan) but some of the weaker nations like USA, Georgia, Namibia, Romania and Canada who've put in relatively strong performances would be affected by reducing the size of the competion. I fail to see how totally denying Portugal the chance to play New Zealand, Scotland and Italy is benficial in the long term. Are regular fixtures against the Czech Republic and Moldova going to spur them to greater heights? The situation whereby the European Challenge Cup can't even gain a sponsor when run in conjuction with the Heineken Cup is an example that TV will have zero appetite for a lesser competition

Instead of reducing the tournament to 16 nations, I'd create a 2nd tier tournament two years out from a World Cup (ie 2009, 2013, 2017 etc). Teams who finish fourth and fifth in their World Cup group gain automatic entry to the new tournament. They are joined by another eight qualifier nations. This tournament would allow weaker countries the chance to compete regularly with nations on a similar level to themselves. It would also offer them a realistic chance of gaining silverware. The four semi finalists gain entry to the World Cup with qualifiers in the subsequent year determining the final four entries to the main event. The tournament wouldn't draw much revenue on it's own so perhaps it should be linked to the main World Cup when handing out television rights and sponsorship deals.

2.Abandon the Churchill Cup and Pacific 5 Nations in favour of new competitions
This might seem like a poor idea but it could work if properly implemented.

I'd propose an eight team tournament of Japan, Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in one pool with Canada, USA, Uruguay and Chile in the other pool. Teams play the other sides in their pool twice. The two pool winners face off in a two legged playoff to decide the overall winner. While not ideal, it guarantees regular international action for the participating countries. iRB funding for the Churchill Cup and Pacific 5 Nations could be diverted towards the new competition.

3.What to do with emerging European nations
I think a status quo of sorts should remain with regards the 6 Nations and European Nations Cup, or 6 Nations B. No other European nation other than the 6 Nations is strong enough to compete regularly on a higher level.

My proposal would be to increase the European Nations Cup into a Europe and North Africa competition. Georgia, Russia, Romania, Portugal, and Spain should be joined by Tunisia and Morocco. The bottom side is relegated each year to a lower competition and replaced by the top finishing 6 Nations C side. Teams compete on a home or away basis. The top three nations in each tournament (held at the same time as the 6 Nations) are guaranteed one home and two away fixtures against 6 Nations countries the following year. This gives them something to aspire to and helps broaden the rugby playing landscape throughout Europe. Some 6 Nations revenue as well as iRB assistence is used to fund this development.

4.The Argentina problem
I wish I had an answer for what to do here but I don't. As has been stated, Ideally an Americas Competition would be set up but the Pumas are far superior to the rest. Geographical problems exist between Argentina and 6 Nations entry while a different rugby playing season is the main hurdle when it comes to entry to the Tri Nations. The short term solution may be to boost the number of international fixtures which the Pumas play in. Guarantee five home and five away internationals per year with at least three home fixtures against tier 1 nations.

Longer term, the UAR should look to implement the once mooted iRB sponsored South American club competition between six Argentinian, one Chilean and one Uruguayan province with the season running along the lines of the Sanzar nations. If the UAR show a willingness to abandon their totally amateur ethos in favour of a more professional one, then offer them entry to the Tri Nations at the earliest possible date. Argentina has the potential to become a World Cup winning superpower but that won't happen until their union gets its own house in order.

The biggest problem facing the lesser nations is the lack of regular gametime. The above proposals go a long way towards fixing that - certainly more so than a reduced World Cup.
I would love to see Argentina in the Six Nations, although it would be a bit odd as they are essentially a southern hemisphere side. I don't know how well they would get on in the Tri-Nations, I feel that the opposition would be too strong for them. I know they just beat France but to produce that kind of performance on a regualr basis would be very tough. Perhaps there could be some kind of four nations tournament involving Argentina, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga? Anything that helps rugby to survive in the Pacific Islands would surely be a good thing.