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RWC 2023 Qualifying

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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I guess it depends how you look at it.
If you did 6 pools of 4 to a quarter final it would mean the top 6 and the two highest points 2nd places go through.

It turns into pretty much turns the game between the two highest ranked teams into a knock out rugby match nearly.

Personally teams that are improving at decent rates so Portugal, Spain need rewarding and as shown by the growth of Chile a rugby world cup spot can be what's needed for teams to take it up another level.

Would Japan be as good as they are if they didn't have a easy qualification in all the previous years? Say if Japan had to go through a Asia/Oceania tournament v Fiji, Tonga and Samoa instead of v Hong Kong/South Korea and didn't make any rugby world cups would there be as much money in the sport as there is now?
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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I don't have a strong opinion on this, even from a Tier2 perspective I don't think it is a priority compared to lots of other things. But if all those Tier2s & 3s that have developed professional teams and leagues in the past 5 year are able to make those financial sustainable then the argument for expansion will get pretty strong. If the recent economic situation sinks those teams and leagues then a 24 team RWC may be regrettable. I don't see much point sending teams filled with semi pro and amateur players to the RWC.
 

RedruthRFC

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That's a tough one. Any more pools and you just won't get competitive pool games at any particular level.
Would it make that much difference? If you based the groups on seedings from the current rankings, you'd have Ireland vs Scotland, France vs Wales, South Africa vs Argentina, New Zealand vs Japan, England vs Samoa and Australia vs Fiji. You could argue whether it's a good or bad thing, but it would do away with the groups of death where one / two / three pools gets three sides who should expect to qualify.
 

die_mole

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Taking from cycling culture, the correct amount of anything is n+1. So I’d say until we get to the maximum n for World Cup teams (32 would be enough for rugby) it should hold all fully professional teams plus whatever number is necessary to hold a good tournament. This would allow semi pro unions to have aspirations and incentive to go fully pro. I’d also like to see qualification expanded so that there are less automatic qualifiers (3 games against tier 2s every 4 years won’t kill the tier 1 unions bottom lines).

I agree with Bruce that professional leagues are more important for the game’s growth though.

The blowout concern is valid but I think we see blowouts in most international competition. Iihf world championships and fiba world cups have blowouts it’s just rugby blowouts are particularly ugly due to the nature of the game. You can’t really turn down the offense or empty the bench. Soccer has mismatches but teams hold themselves back.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Taking from cycling culture, the correct amount of anything is n+1. So I’d say until we get to the maximum n for World Cup teams (32 would be enough for rugby) it should hold all fully professional teams plus whatever number is necessary to hold a good tournament. This would allow semi pro unions to have aspirations and incentive to go fully pro. I’d also like to see qualification expanded so that there are less automatic qualifiers (3 games against tier 2s every 4 years won’t kill the tier 1 unions bottom lines).

Hurrah! I think you may be the first person I've heard who is broadly on the same page as me for this. Fair qualification is key (not 3 out of 5 in every group autoqualifying). I get grief for voicing this in Tier2 circles with the most valid counterargument being that RWC inclusion can boost domestic playing numbers and revenue. Taking NA as an example I can't day I've seen much evidence of that over the years.

Heck, up until SLAR, MLR and RESC I'd even have explored cutting the RWC to 16 teams.
 

die_mole

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I’m fairly convinced that high performance and grassroots have very little to do with each other in the United States. You don’t play a sport cause of the .01% chance of making a World Cup, you play it cause it’s part of your town’s social fabric. It’s what your friends play and how you have fun.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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USA is a odd situation.
It has 3 massive established traditional sports already and “Soccer” is on the rise.


On the flip side take away Fiji, Samoa, Japan, Tonga from the RWC and would they have developed as they did or would rugby league have started to creep into it instead.

I don’t know if it would boost the domestic game but I do know that teams getting into the rugby world cups generally get a lot more funding than if they don’t qualify which in turn can be used more for grassroots building
 

die_mole

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USA is a odd situation.
It has 3 massive established traditional sports already and “Soccer” is on the rise.


On the flip side take away Fiji, Samoa, Japan, Tonga from the RWC and would they have developed as they did or would rugby league have started to creep into it instead.

I don’t know if it would boost the domestic game but I do know that teams getting into the rugby world cups generally get a lot more funding than if they don’t qualify.
Minor correction but nhl is already much more established than soccer (bigger tv contracts, player salaries, etc.)

We also don’t really fund sports so I think that’s an issue for South America, PIs, and continental Europe.

I do think a cracking the door open a little more for them would attract for more funding.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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Minor correction but nhl is already much more established than soccer (bigger tv contracts, player salaries, etc.)

We also don’t really fund sports so I think that’s an issue for South America, PIs, and continental Europe.

I do think a cracking the door open a little more for them would attract for more funding.

TBH I forgot Hockey
There is also I guess things like NASCAR in the south.

And by funding I was talking sponsors, investment as well as government.
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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Repechage in Dubai in November.


I cant see what preparations the US can make with their players prior to this. MLR wont be running and they wont have access to their overseas based players in the weeks leading up to it. Advantage Portugal. Theirs to lose in my opinion.
 
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die_mole

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TBH I forgot Hockey
There is also I guess things like NASCAR in the south.

And by funding I was talking sponsors, investment as well as government.
yeah I imagine it's really hard for Portugal or Spain to go to players, sponsors, and the community and ask for buy in when 1. qualification is very cut throat and there are very few spots available and 2. they don't even get to play the big names in qualification.
 

Brigantine

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Would it make that much difference? If you based the groups on seedings from the current rankings, you'd have Ireland vs Scotland, France vs Wales, South Africa vs Argentina, New Zealand vs Japan, England vs Samoa and Australia vs Fiji. You could argue whether it's a good or bad thing, but it would do away with the groups of death where one / two / three pools gets three sides who should expect to qualify.
Is it really a good thing if qualifying out of your group is basically just a formality? To expand the knock-outs so that the pool games are low-stakes?

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In one sense, the "World Cup" should be reserved for teams that participate in and progress from official Regional (continental) Union tournaments.

2026 Rugby World Cup, played in November with teams from:
  • Rugby Europe Championship
  • Pacific Nations Cup
  • South American Championship
  • Rugby Americas North Championship (if it returns)
  • Africa Cup
  • Asia Rugby Championship
e.g. (pools tweaked to minimize multiple teams from the same comp)
  • Pool A: Samoa,_ Romania, Uruguay, Hong Kong
  • Pool B: Fiji,_____. Spain,___. Chile,___. Russia/Canada
  • Pool C: Georgia, Tonga,___ Portugal, Namibia

And then you can have a 'separate' tournament where you take the (e.g.) 3 podium finishers and then include Tier 1 / Japan / USA, 3 pools of 5

2027 Elite Rugby Cup, played in September with teams from:
  • Rugby World Cup
  • 6 Nations
  • The Rugby Championship
  • Invited teams not eligible for the Rugby World Cup e.g. Japan, USA
e.g.
  • Pool A: Ireland,_____. Australia,____. Scotland,_. Fiji,___. Georgia
  • Pool B: France,______ New Zealand, Wales,____ Samoa, USA
  • Pool C: South Africa, England,_____ Argentina, Japan,_ Italy
Now tell me those pools aren't more interesting! (Not that it will happen)

A 6-pool alternative looks more like:
  • Pool A: Ireland,______ Fiji,________ Georgia,_ Namibia
  • Pool B: France,______. Samoa,____ Spain,___ Chile,
  • Pool C: South Africa,. Japan,_____ Italy,____. Canada
  • Pool D: Australia,____ Scotland,__ Uruguay, Portugal,
  • Pool E: New Zealand, Wales,____. Romania, USA,
  • Pool F: England,_____. Argentina, Tonga,___ Hong Kong

And now, back to following the Repechange
 

RedruthRFC

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Is it really a good thing if qualifying out of your group is basically just a formality? To expand the knock-outs so that the pool games are low-stakes?

No, but this isn't about finding perfect, it's about finding best possible. In a perfect world, every pool game would be balanced on a knife edge and the two who make it through would be relieved to do so. Every compromise comes with advantages and disadvantages. Pools where the winners are practically predetermined aren't a good thing, but neither is the current lottery that rewards some teams with a bye to the quarter finals while putting other (possibly better) sides in a three way dog fight to reach the same stage. If there was sufficient strength in depth for all pools to be a three way fight like that, I'd have no problem with it.

2027 Elite Rugby Cup, played in September with teams from:
  • Rugby World Cup
  • 6 Nations
  • The Rugby Championship
  • Invited teams not eligible for the Rugby World Cup e.g. Japan, USA
e.g.
  • Pool A: Ireland,_____. Australia,____. Scotland,_. Fiji,___. Georgia
  • Pool B: France,______ New Zealand, Wales,____ Samoa, USA
  • Pool C: South Africa, England,_____ Argentina, Japan,_ Italy
Now tell me those pools aren't more interesting! (Not that it will happen)

Interesting to see how you produce 8 teams! The pools games would be great, but how long is it going to take to play the tournament if all 4 pool games require a first XV? What damage will this format do to developing teams?
 

Al Bangor

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I’m fairly convinced that high performance and grassroots have very little to do with each other in the United States. You don’t play a sport cause of the .01% chance of making a World Cup, you play it cause it’s part of your town’s social fabric. It’s what your friends play and how you have fun.
Phil Hartman Yes GIF
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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die_mole

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I’m torn. I really want the union to be forced to reset and hopefully not qualifying would help that. Gold and other decision makers won't have my support. On the other hand I feel for the players.
 

miccloarch

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And then you can have a 'separate' tournament where you take the (e.g.) 3 podium finishers and then include Tier 1 / Japan / USA, 3 pools of 5

2027 Elite Rugby Cup, played in September with teams from:
  • Rugby World Cup
  • 6 Nations
  • The Rugby Championship
  • Invited teams not eligible for the Rugby World Cup e.g. Japan, USA
e.g.
  • Pool A: Ireland,_____. Australia,____. Scotland,_. Fiji,___. Georgia
  • Pool B: France,______ New Zealand, Wales,____ Samoa, USA
  • Pool C: South Africa, England,_____ Argentina, Japan,_ Italy
Now tell me those pools aren't more interesting! (Not that it will happen)
That does put more jeopardy on making it out of the pools for tier1 but doesn't help tier 2/3 that much. They need to be part of the main tournament and have a more decent chance of making the knockout rounds themselves.

eg.
Pool A: Australia; Scotland; Samoa; Portugal
Pool B: South Africa; Fiji; Italy; Russia
Pool C: England; Georgia; Tonga; Canada
Pool D: France; Japan; Uruguay; Namibia
Pool E: Ireland; Wales; USA; Romania
Pool F: New Zealand; Argentina; Spain; Chile

Six pools of four, top 2 per pool plus four best 3rd place finishers qualify for the KOs. That doesn't increase the current length of the tournament (you'll still have to play 7 games to win it) and guarantees tier 1 v tier 2/3 KO games.

eg. Last 16:
France v Chile
Fiji v Scotland
Australia v Argentina
South Africa v Samoa
Ireland v Italy
Japan v Georgia
New Zealand v Uruguay
England v Wales

Some of those will still be walkovers but as you can see, the chances for meaningful upsets and tier 2 teams in the QFs increases. Something tells me this is the biggest reason tier 1 doesn't want a 24 team tournament with this kind of format.
 
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