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Top 15 world rankings predictions for 10 years time?

Welshdragon2000

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I asked on the Georgian page where people think they will be in 10 years time and somebody suggested a new thread for this sort of thing so my question is of course, what do you think the rugby world rankings will look like 10 years from now?
I'll go first and make my prediction (in order).
1. England (as a Welshman it pains me but they seem to have an outstanding youth system right now)
2. New Zealand
3. Australia
4. Ireland
5. South Africa
6. Argentina
7. Wales
8. Scotland
9. France
10. Georgia
11. Japan
12. Fiji
13. USA
14. Italy
15. Germany
I'll be interested to see other people's suggestions. Ive really gone all ballsy and put Germany in there but they seem to have such excellent potential to thrive in the sport (especially if they can kick on this year and mount a creditable challenge for a World Cup place).
The reason I've done top 15 as well is because the top 8 or 9 really do pick themselves. Feel free to put your top 20 in. I feel that the gap between 'tier 2' nations and 'tier 1' nations will close massively which is what the game really does need in my opinion - after all everyone does like an underdog that is able to compete at a high level.
 

Pieter Steph du Teague

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Think Ireland could well top Aus and I can't see the Springboks improving until there are some major changes in the system, would move them down. Far down. Also think Scotland have a brighter future than Wales, they've been nurturing talent while Wales have been running their experienced test players into the ground.
 

profitius

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I think NZ will still be tops. I think they're more than a decade ahead of other countries at the moment. I do think they won't be a dominant because other teams will catch up.


I think there'll be more competitive teams. If the USA gets a professional league they could make the top 10 though I don't subscribe to the notion that they'll dominate rugby in the future. They've fairly average at soccer despite the resources.


England is a funny one. They're going well now and have no shortage of talent and seem to be getting better but will that continue? The clubs are very powerful and the more powerful they get, the harder it will be for the RFU to keep them quiet. Politics have ruined the Springboks so don't rule it out happening to other countries.


They've hit the headlines plenty lately for the wrong reasons mostly but I think Italy will get their act together and be much stronger in 10 years time but will still struggle in the 6 nations for a while.


France, who knows!


Scotland are moving in the right direction, so are Ireland. Wales are not but I think they'll get back on track and back to their traditional running game.


The Aussies have always been up there as one of the best teams in the world but its hard to know if they'll remain there for another 10 years. I don't see much hope for the Boks. I can see the quotas being increased further if anything. Argentina should improve as they've a big playing population.


The big movers will be second tier nations especially those in Europe. Georgia, Romania, Germany, Spain etc. If they can get professional teams in those countries they'll really improve.
 

Goodey

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France are underachieving right now given their player base and the success of their clubs. They should be as they were 10 years ago and at least be able to win 6N ***les and world cup knockout games. Japan is the only side I expect to rise past their historical place, 'cause, y'know, they're already doing it.

Italy probably won't go anywhere upwards because rugby in the country is just too small a market. Similar for teams like Georgia, Fiji etc.

NZ will still be top because it's essentially the only rugby nation in the world.
 

corny

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No way can you order these with any certainty (maybe NZ aside). Picking names out of a hat probably has the same predictive value.
 

Welshdragon2000

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No way can you order these with any certainty (maybe NZ aside). Picking names out of a hat probably has the same predictive value.

Spoil sport;) I'm only kidding, it's only a bit of fun this is though as obviously bo one knows how it will look
 

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1. New Zealand
2. England
3. Australia
4. Ireland
5. Argentina
6. France
7. Scotland
8. South Africa
9. Wales
10. Japan
11. Georgia
12. Fiji
13. Italy
14. USA
15. Germany

Just a guess, really.
 

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1. New Zealand
2-4. England/Australia/Ireland
5-6 .South Africa/Argentina
7-9. France/Scotland/Wales
10. Japan
11-13. Georgia/Fiji/Italy
14. USA
15. Samoa
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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My remarks are based on the following personal assumptions:

i) Success in modern rugby is more about keeping the ball alive with offloads from players 1-15 than about the set piece and territory.
ii) Countries that focus on player recruitment from a narrow economic subsection of their population will becoming uncompetitive compared to other nations that are trying to extend the reach of rugby domestically.
iii) If you can’t get a full squad of players playing full time, in a professional league, then you are going nowhere.
iv) Residency rules will be extended to at least 5 years.
v) The Tier 1 nation of South America will be far more supportive of its Tier 2 neighbours than will be the case in Europe or Africa.
vi) If your international windows clash with the professional league your players play in, your ability to develop a side and compete is really hurt.

My assumptions may be wrong and there is loads I don’t know about rugby in each country – so this is all pretty darn hypothetical. I'm also sleep deprived and bored at the moment so this gave me some stimulation! Surprised at how much movement I’m expecting, but the big Tier 1 boys will remain unchallenged in my opinion. No offence is intended if I say your country is going to bomb! :p

Current rankings in brackets.

1 (1) New Zealand – best coach and youth systems. Can probably hold on to top players and not lose them to Europe.

2 (8) France – currently improving balance between club and international game. RWC in 2023 means failure is not politically acceptable.

3 (6) South Africa – realised things were awful last year and had a major sit down to think about the way ahead. Appear to have aligned Super Rugby teams to play a more expansive style of play and take more risks. The 30 caps rule just introduced to allow playersrr in Europe with 30+ caps to be selected is the most elegant solution I've seen to balance the needs of the international side with the needs of the Super Rugby teams. Concerted efforts to expand the sections of society who get access to top quality coaching means there is an ongoing explosion in the volume of talent being scouted (rather than focussing on 10% of the population). May all go up in smoke if there is political interference in coaching at Super Rugby and international level which I think would be disasterous.

4 (2) England – Eddie Jones inflates their current ability and he won’t be there in 2027. Club game focus may stifle national team development like in football. Should never be outside the top 4 given their size and resources (like France).

5 (4) Ireland – lovely set up with the four provinces providing stable development for generations to come. Lots of talent coming through and they have the Pro12 and Europe as great proving grounds. Here to stay near the top table and should give all those above them a bloody nose at regular intervals. Need a good replacement to Schmidt though to maintain this level.

6 (7) Wales – club sides improving significantly this year but considerably less youth talent compared to Ireland at the moment. “Gatlands law” is best of both worlds and they could make significant improvements coaching wise in the coming years.

7 (9) Argentina – need a second Super Rugby franchise, need to be more receptive to international coaching talent and need to try and get their younger talents playing in struggling Super Rugby sides in Japan & Oz to get them more play time at a professional level and ensure they still have access to them at international windows. Might also need a “Gatlands Law” or a South African “30 caps” rule. If all that happens I’d put them higher, but I don’t see it all happening.

8 (3) Australia – Cheika is a very good coach - look at the Oz national side compared to its Super Rugby sides. He inflates their current ranking. Had a year every bit as worrying as South Africa but this was concealed by them having a good coach and there is no sign of a response to it that I have seen. I get the sense they will complacently slide compared to their rivals and rumours on this forum that rugby is the sport of the privileged in Australia limits their potential to identify talent at a young age. Expect panic if Cheika stands aside to seek a fresh challenge (unless a suitable successor is found).

9 (5) Scotland – something good is going on in Scottish player development and the game is slowly expanding beyond it’s traditional privileged fortress (see Finn Russell, apprentice stone mason). It’s still an old boys network though and there are big geographic, financial and stadium issues in Scotland that make a third professional side unlikely and are going to hamper scouting of young talent and growth of the existing two sides. Also seem to have an old fashioned notion of what a forward should do (i.e. take the ball into contact and recycle). I think they'll maintain their current high standard, but their rivals have more upward potential.

10 (10) Fiji – residency rule changes. Imagine current squad plus French wingers and the Vunipolas? Simply too small a country to get the access it needs to a professional team of its own or really threaten the top half of the top 10.

11 (14) Italy – more talent under the age of 25 than they are given credit for. So many things they can to do improve and optimism that Conor O’Shea may be the man to deliver well thought out change off the park. Even if the jury is out on his ability to bring success on the park he may leave a legacy that starts bearing fruit by 2027 and stops the slide. Pulling out of RWC 2023 will really hold them back though. I want to see the Pro12 sides both be regional and stronger connections between them and the Excellenza sides in those regions. Plus hire some proper coaches for the Pro12. Not failed journeymen or men with no experience at that level. Need to play non-Tier 1 sides to develop playing styles other than just defending desperately for 80mins.

12 (11) Japan – I get the feeling they have horrible political and/or bureaucratic issues that will hold back development of the sport (like after football world cup, which was in no way a springboard). Appallingly weak team selection in November saw debuts in the forwards for men over 30 years of age, including a 35 year old lock. Very worrying to me. Signs of a lack of thought or commitment about how to get the best from Super Rugby franchise. The plus side is that they hire the best coaches in the world for the national side, but that can only do so much.

13 (22) Spain – I see Spain going places, fast. Their young talent that came on during the second half at the weekend arguably looked better than Georgia’s and they appear to enjoy some access to the French club game and have opportunities in terms of recruiting players born outside Spain, which aids their development in the short term while the youth players come through. Spain excels at sports it is interested in, in terms of youth development, coaching and sponsorship. Think tennis, MotoGP, football and road cycling – they have a stranglehold on those sort of sports and this cannot be an accident or just luck. I may be overestimating the relevance of this in relation to rugby but I think the current rugby side is already a top 18 in terms of ability and they put up a better show against Tonga in November than Italy did (even though the Italy game was closer on points) so they may not be so very far behind already. The country is a big enough market for the Pro12 to be interested and the REC works well for them as they get to compete against stronger sides Romania & Georgia which aids their development.

14 (16) Romania – I like the Romanian attitude to the rugby powers in Europe. It knows they are selfish, insular and have zero interest in whether rugby lives or dies in Romania. So it puts its head down, and comes up with its own solution of making its own professional league! Very fortunate to have about 8 decent sized cities that could support a club – so they don’t have the issue Scotland has. This means that the sport is accessible to kids all over the country and that the international side can get access to their domestic based players whenever they want them. The Superliga appears to be run with the benefit of the national side very much in mind. Their union seems to be run by sensible people, with a focus on youth development and quality coaching. Fingers crossed it can remain financially stable. If so, I can only see good things for the national side after impressive displays of attacking rugby in November and some very promising young prospects starting to come through. The nervy, lower quality REC performances are perhaps to be expected with so much at stake.

15 (13) Tonga - really impressed by this young, experimental side in November. Residency rules to retain talent but like Fiji, will be constrained by not having its own professional side but I think they’ll cement themselves as the second strongest Pacific Island.

16 (17) United States - I can see them still farting about with professionalism in 10 years time and squandering the opportunity to progress. So currently they are not in a position to capitalise on short terms gains (e.g. the good performance at the Americas Rugby Championship this year won’t be built on if those players don’t find a professional berth).

17 (12) Georgia – At the mercy of the French league to get access to its players and hampered by major challenges in terms of its geographic location, its economy, the fact European rugby is so insular. The strengths of the Georgian side are more suited to the game of the 1990s than the game of the 2010s. Excellent at U20 level, but I’ve never been a fan of predicting senior team success out of age range success. Tblisi makes up a large part of the population, so it is unclear if anywhere else in Georgia could support a professional team, which may restrict their domestic league. Hard to see what their options are for club rugby in terms of teaming up with others. Really need Germany and Spain to develop and open up European rugby to make it based on merit. Has a rich patron, but who can guarantee he’ll still be interested in ten years time. I don’t think Georgia will slip backwards, I just think the countries around it have opportunities to overtake it. I really hope they prove doubters like me wrong and find a solution to move forward.

18 (23) Germany – the news that there’ll be no Pro-12 side for at least 6 to 7 years holds them back. And the German domestic league appears to be years behind the Romanian league, and even the Spanish one. Crowds are improving (I’m told it is a sellout in Cologne for their next home game?), but it is still early days to see if the wider German public will fall in love with the sport and quite what level of support their billionaire backer will give them. The current crop of players is pretty good and they’ve a couple of good flyhalfs it seems (which is one more than Scotland!). But if they don’t have a structured domestic league it is hard to see where the next generation of talent is coming from.

19 (21) Uruguay – considered to be a well run union. Gaining access to Argentine domestic club competition and Americas Rugby Championship are a big deal. Not sure if Montevideo would be considered a big enough market for a Super Rugby franchise given fairly modest crowds for the national side (population 2 million, so maybe if the sport takes off).

20 (33) Brazil – impressed by what I see from them already and they play the game in an open, attacking spirit which should prepare them well for the modern game. Potential to have a Super Rugby franchise by 2027 and World Rugby have already identified them as a country to focus their high performance resources on (whatever that means, presumably providing coaching assistance?).

21 (15) Samoa – struggling in 7s (missed Rio) and have fallen to bottom of the PIs in 15s even though Tonga is in transition. I’m a little concerned for Samoan rugby even though things may improve with changes to residency rules.

Outside top 25 (20) Canada . As their anthem goes… “O Canada… who the hell is running your union?”. Losing over a million dollars in funding for the 7s side and having to curtail their domestic Canadian Rugby Championship and limit it to a paltry amount of games and turning their backs on a millionaire offering to fund two professional teams 100% out of his own money - all in just six short months. Imagine what disasters their union can cause in ten years? For Canada it looks like a case of “how low can you go?”. :(
 
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Caitlyn Jenner

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1. NZ - At least a decade ahead of the rest
2. England - comfortable 2nd. Great systems and player pool. Will be top 2 with NZ for years.
3. South Africa - Many issues now, but a massive talent pool and national love for rugby will see plenty of talent come through and they'll find a system that works.
4. France - You never really know with them, but I see them heading in the right direction with the style they're trying to play and what they're doing with the Top 14.
5. Ireland - I think they're in a good enough place to remain very strong for years to come.
6. Argentina - Could even be higher, I defs think they'll see improvement with the increasing profile of rugby in the country and their inclusion in the RC and now Super Rugby
7. Australia - Sadly rugby is in a dier state in Aus and only looks to be getting worse. Public interest and player numbers are at an all time low and not getting better.
8. Wales - Unsure really, but I don't see much to write home about from them.
9. Scotland - Again unsure, but I predict they'll stay much the same as they have over the last 10 years - competitive, but not on the same level as the top nations.
10. Italy - There are good signs and bad signs from Italy. Haven't kicked on as you'd have hoped in the 6 nations, but they will remain competitive.
11. Georgia - Rugby is in a strong state in Georgia but their lack of quality pro leagues/teams doesn't help their cause. Still, a team on the improve.
12. Japan - Hopefully being in super rugby and hosting the 2019 RWC will spark a rugby revoution in Japan, but even if so, it won't change much in the next 10 years in terms of their national team. Improving team playing a good syle, but lack the physical attributes to genuinely mix it with the powerhouses.
13. Fiji - Lack of resources and continuity the biggest issue really, with most of their players spread out across the world. Also the increasing popularity of 7s may take away form the 15s side? Who knows...
14. USA - Rugby is definitely growing in the US and long term they may become very strong, but that is well beyond 10 years away
15. Samoa - Similar to Fiji. Their natural talent will probs keep them in roughly this position.
 

LeinsterMan (NotTigsMan)

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My prediction in 10 years
1) England
2) New Zealand
3) South Africa
4) Australia
5) Ireland
6) Argentina
7) Wales
8) Scotland
9) France
10) Japan
11) Georgia
12) Fiji
13) Italy
14) Samoa
15) Spain

I don't have much hope for USA rugby currently, I can see Sevens taking off in a big way though.
 

Welshdragon2000

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The U20s are giving us a bit of a clue into what the rankings will look like (or the teams in the top 12 or whatever).
Interesting to see Spain in 15 @Tigs Man above the likes of Romania. I think I would agree with you though as they have improved so much lately.
 

FrenchFan

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2 (8) France – currently improving balance between club and international game. RWC in 2023 means failure is not politically acceptable.
Have to disagree. Where is the evidence of that? We use to be favourites for 6N now we're not even contenders. Next 6N will not be different. Because we're
going back into the same season with exactly same structure, same issues etc. The same causes produce same effects.

Also at test level if you're not progressing you're going backwards because there's always going to be nations ready to take over. This is what's happening.

The French team is in a decline. That decline hasn't been halted with Noves because this can't be one man's crusade. It's in the nature of decline to get worse if not dealt with. There's a lot of sabre rattling with Laporte but no decision so far. We're falling behind in our approach of the test game - because the same club-country politics is still in place. Same causes same effects again.

Think you're not looking at the reality of the game here. And beware of clichés like 'France and England should never be outside top 4 blabla given size and
resources'. But it depends how one is using these resources. England have found a more viable balance with club and country. We haven't.

Looking at your assumptions above France is not meeting i) and vi)
 

Bruce_ma gooshvili

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When i posted French Fan I thought Laporte was going to sweep through improvements. He reportedly rejected new "project players" and gave the national side more time to train together before the 6N. If his reforms stall France are in trouble and I'd probably swap them around with England in my list (seeing the quality of the English U20s).

Of my other tips SA this Wild fellow buying Stade France would tempt me to put Germany higher.
 

Chief Pete

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1. New Zealand
2. England
3. Ireland
4. Australia
5. France
6. South Africa
7. Wales
8. Scotland
9. Argentina
10. Japan
11. Italy
12. Samoa
13. Fiji
14. Tonga
15. USA
 

FrenchFan

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When i posted French Fan I thought Laporte was going to sweep through improvements. He reportedly rejected new "project players" and gave the national side more time to train together before the 6N. If his reforms stall France are in trouble and I'd probably swap them around with England in my list (seeing the quality of the English U20s).

Fair enough.
I'm not sure about Laporte's timing for his proposed union contracts. Bernard is a politician now. He's made lots of promises to both amateur and pro rugby to get elected. That's what politicians do. How much will he deliver is hard to say.

I can't see much change happening with direct impact on les bleus between now and Japan 2019. Because those changes should have happened straight after the last WC and they didn't. If they introduced the FFR contracts these will not come into effect immediately as players are still under their current club contracts.

The next WC will soon be around the corner - will they even win one 6N before? doubtful.

I can't honestly see France get out of their pool. Noves position will also likely come under scrutiny before. Don't be surprised if he doesn't go to Japan...
 

Not Mike Brown's Sock

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would love to see a french resurgence and feel like the scottish are peaking and don't personally see too much more coming from them with the lack of great clubs they have at the moment. A resuffle of the pro12 could be very intresting if the USA and Canada gets teams in it, that could be the money and playing time that they need to kick on. The residency rules will prbs benifit Samoa/Fiji etc so hopefully they can kick on a little bit
 

Bobby G

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it surprises me no one has Japan ranked higher - the amount of players heading there is crazy!! not all will play for japan but may well raise the quality of the Japanese eligible players.
 

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