Tier 1 expansion - the great debate.

Discussion in 'General Rugby Union' started by Which Tyler, Oct 13, 2019.

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What format do you prefer?

  1. Status Quo: 6N, QN, ENC and PNC but never the twain shall meet

  2. Divide by hemisphere: Invite Japan, US and Canada into the ENC; add Uruguay, Namibia, Bra to the PNC

  3. Split Europe v RotW: Promotion/relegation between 6N and ENC; same between QN and PNC

  4. Something else, I'll reply specifically below.

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  1. Which Tyler

    Which Tyler First XV

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    So, who wants Japan?

    Is there room in the calendar to expand the 6N? If they do, should they look to the local game first? (So Georgia/Romania).

    Is the travel insane enough already in the QN to cope with expansion?

    Are we happy to leave Japan and Fiji in their box, playing each other and living off the scraps the top tier drop from the table?

    Should the 6N and QN open up to the idea of promotion/relegation? Presumably with play-off to ensure that the newbie is actually deserving. Isn't worth the price for whoever may get relegated? Would those turkeys ever vote for Christmas?

    What do you prefer?
     
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  3. Which Tyler

    Which Tyler First XV

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    IMO something needs to change, and I'd love to have Japan in with the 6N, but I'm not sure which of the options above is more practicable.
    I'd love to expand the 6N to 8, with Japan and Georgia, but I just don't think there's room in the calendar, and we'd have the same conversation soon enough for USA and Romania

    I think I'd favour NH Vs SH.

    The NH has already set itself up to play each other once, with 6 teams, so invite US and Japan into the ENC, and Canada I to ENC 2. Setting up promotion and relegation play-off every other year (non-RWC and non-lions).

    SH has already set itself up to play each other twice, with fewer nations, so the PNC loses Jap, US and Can, but o it replace one of them (Uru). Setting up promotion and relegation play-off, probably at the same time as the NH.
     
  4. Bruce_ma_goose

    Bruce_ma_goose First XV

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    It is Rugby Championship or bust for Japan in terms of meaningful progression, with the 6N having torpedoed the World League in favour of their new financial arrangement with CVC. That agreement now means the 6N are likely to be even less flexible in the event of any future discussions around a World League.

    I can't see SANZAAR voting for promotion and relegation if it isn't part of a World League package and expansion to 5N for them would be very difficult to fit in the calendar even if we scrapped Bledisloe 3.

    Anything like a Pacific Rim championship (Japan, PI and Americas Rugby Championshjp) would be logistically problematic and lack a Tier1 nation unless the Pumas bailed on the Rugby Champonship (which wont happen unless rugby takes off in the US to an extent it becomes more financially appealing for the Pumas than the RC).

    Basically this is a massive logistical headache given Japan's geographical location and we'll probably have to wait for SANZAAR to realise just how dire their financial projections are before they take a step to incorporate Japan, from a position of weakness (by which time they may well have regressed).

    If there is an alternative to the World League that doesn't unfairly restrict Tier2 nations then I am all ears. The proposal wasn't ideal, but an ideal proposal with so many stakeholders is often not possible. For me it was light years ahead of the current setup which is manifestly unfair.

    Realistically all World Rugby can do is:

    - get Tier1 nations to adhere to the agreement made a couple of years ago for increased number of friendlies with Tier2
    - change RWC qualification so that the top three in groups do not automatically qualify so that all nations have to qualify through the same process (again exposing the different Tiers to each other).

    But I doubt either of the above on their own would result in meaningful change.
     
  5. Which Tyler

    Which Tyler First XV

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    I thought the world league thing was rejected admit A] Dispanded the 6N and B] was part and parcel of a global season? I must admit, that discussion was a while ago now, and the details have become fuzzy for me.

    The Pacific Nations Cup already exists - so is unlikely to be more problematic than it already is.

    As for motivation to change. Japan have just qualified for the QFs for the first time. They've become the first non-6N/QN team to top a RWC pool. They beat 2 tier 1 teams in quick succession to do so. Japan are hosting a very successful RWC (contingency horlicks aside). Their case is strong enough that AN answer has to be found, the question is what that answer looks like.
     
  6. living sacrifice

    living sacrifice First XV

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    Surely we have too many internationals as it is, I don’t want more and what I really don’t want is some team miles and miles away ruining the 6 nations. Adding Italy was a mistake as they haven’t progressed and the games are usually boring.

    I don’t get why people world a world league either as that would just ruining the World Cup spectacle every 4 years.

    I get that people want Japan and others to develop but they need a much stronger club game before they can really be worth it financially.
     
  7. FrenchFan

    FrenchFan First XV

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    Promotion/relegation is the only way forward for the 6N. Better than being stuck with 2 Italy for another 4 years.
     
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  8. bushytop

    bushytop First XV

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    Further to what @FrenchFan has mentioned regarding Europe... I’d also add Japan and Fiji to the QN/TRC.

    So two 6 Nations (current 6 Nations [Europe] and the another [ROTW] with NZ, SA, Oz, Arg, Japan & Fiji), with both competitions formatted the same ie each nation plays the other nations once each, home one year and away the next (like the current 6 Nations)... and promotion and relegation for both comps.

    Now obviously this isn’t going to happen, particularly after the CVC acquisition but if I was the World Rugby dictator this is what I would put forward.
     
  9. Crags

    Crags Academy Player

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    1 or 2 of the likely candidates would do better than Italy. So a change is maybe needed.
     
  10. mdaclarke

    mdaclarke Bench Player

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    Japan burned their bridges with SANZAAR when they voted for France to have the 2023 World Cup. That's one of the reasons why the Sunwolves were kicked out.
     
  11. Jabby

    Jabby First XV

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    surely you have to devide by timezone, japan to the RC...means RSA might need to join the 6N though......
     
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  12. scotty507

    scotty507 First XV

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    I think for the 6N the distance is the killer, unless they agreed to for the 6N play at a neutral european destination. Which obv has its own drawbacks but given the size of Japan, they have their own league and are improving. They will start drawing SR And NH talent there(if they havnt already) improving Japan and if rugby gets bigger there and like America they COULD be great.

    Something needs to happen tbh but ive always said playing tier 1 teams doesnt make you a tier 1 team, for that you need to have a thriving league thats investing in the game and good pathways to get young people there. It seems that italy dont have that at all, but cant have 6N team travelling to and from Japan its too far IMO.

    Its a shame Japan fiji and US cant make their own premiership like the pro 14, the market and different play styles would be epic.
     
  13. Steve-o

    Steve-o Bench Player

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    To me that is the most obvious solution. If the Japs were added to the RC the amount timezones involved kills it for fairweather fans as we've seen with Super Rugby.

    SA can then have tours with the RC teams (AR/NZ/AU/JP) during the June window and the 7 Nations can be their regular season.
     
  14. bushytop

    bushytop First XV

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  15. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    What about instead of hemispheres, we go with time zones. Then the UK, France, Italy and South Africa have a grouping. Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the PI have a grouping, Argentina, USA, and Canada has a grouping. That way the viewers in that region will get to view most of the matches at acceptable times to see their teams play.

    But we shouldn't kid ourselves. A lot of politics are involved here. And more so during the 2023 RWC host bid. There were a lot of angry people all around, and some nations just don't like others and their administrators. So the way forward will be very difficult to change what is already the status quo. And every attempt so far has been found/percieved unfavourably.
     
  16. bushytop

    bushytop First XV

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    I get you heinie but there ain’t anyway Argentina are gonna buy what you’re selling.
     
  17. scotty507

    scotty507 First XV

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    What if rather than promotion relagation from the 6N we did consistancy. If you come bottom of the 6N 3 times in a row your out and someone else gets a go. Games must be played in europe no matter who joins so keep the timezones right. Japan FiJi Georgia.

    As it stands its basicly 5 teams that vary in what order they come....and italy. Swap them for Japan/Fiji we will get some competition. They wont be getting games in Japan but they will be getting consistant tier 1 games. Same for Fiji


    This way also stops 1 bad year getting the likes of scotland or france knocked out, or even England for that matter as we came 5th in 2018 right.

    What do you guys think?
     
  18. bushytop

    bushytop First XV

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    I’d rather a play-off... either home and away or neutral ground, or even one off at the current 6 Nations teams ground. Also, I do think Japan and Fiji should be grouped with TRC really, as much as I’d love them in the 6N from a selfish perspective.
     
  19. scotty507

    scotty507 First XV

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    My prob with promotion relagation is kind of a selfish one as i dont want to see a tier 1 team go down and it can happen due to injury crisis 1 year, especially scotlant as they dont have the depth. The closed comp as long as you dont lose 3 times in a row at least means you have to be consistent or least competative. Or your out and someone else gets a chance it gives a tier 2 team time to grow then if they dont then its their own fault.
     
  20. bushytop

    bushytop First XV

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    I do get your logic I just feel it’s too unfair on those countries on the way up... also what if for arguments sake Georgia won the Euro Championship 10 times in a row but all of those ten times there wasn’t a wooden spooner 3 times in a row (though, let’s say Wales were on the second consecutively at Georgia’s 10th). Then the following year Portugal came from nowhere and won the Euro Champs and Wales picked up their third straight spoon... hey presto Portugal are in the 6 Nations when they have had nowhere near the consistency that Georgia had shown.

    At least with an annual play-off you can have a bad 6 N (which is possible for ANYONE) and still get the opportunity to fight for your right to party the following year. Italy beat Georgia convincingly last Autumn and was the deciding factor for me in this format choice.
     
  21. TRF_heineken

    TRF_heineken RIP #J9

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    I know, they will be the most disadvantaged by this plan, and that's why I can't really see a lot of structural changes to the current setup of the 6N and the RC (albeit rather new). But they are essentially the 10 nations that are the tier 1 group. and they hold the most power. And for them to make drastic changes to a system that is working (for them), won't happen quickly.

    Japan, kinda shat their own bed when they went against the SANZAAR partners in relation to the 2023 bid when they didn't vote for SA. And since then, the Sunwolves were also demoted from Super Rugby. But in all honesty, I don't think the Sunwolves issue has anything to do with this. The plan has been for a while to get SR back to it's former glory when it was the Super 14/12 with the round robin programme instead of the conference system. So SANZAAR just went back to what they knew worked in order to keep their own system working better, before looking at other ventures.

    I say, we have to use this as a model, in that I get there should be expansion, but don't try too much too soon, or it'll backfire like it did with the Sunwolves.

    For me, I think the simplest solution would be to extend the international window by 4 weeks. But split those 4 weeks in 2 during the year. Have 2 extra weeks during the June internationals, when NH based teams travel South, and have 2 week with the EOYT extra. But those 4 weeks must be solely used to have Tier 1 teams play Tier 2 teams. Like a warm-up to a series.

    Let's say next year Ireland tours SA for the June internationals, they will play 3 tests. But before we play Ireland, we will play to matches against a team like Tonga and Uruguay in a one-off game. Then when we go on the EOYT we usually play 3 games in the UK and Ireland, and another game against France or Italy. Why not have a game against Georgia and Spain while we are on tour?

    This way, the tier 2 nations learns to travel to tier 1 games and get accustomed to the bigger stadiums and the difference in intensity, but also gets to host the big guns at home and get the locals perhaps more interested in the sport.
     
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