Imagine Rugby Blogs

Work To Do For World Cup Minnows

Improvements must be made in the near future

Posted Sep 29, 2011 by Chris White

Ireland crushed Russia in their Pool fixture

The World Cup is the pinnacle of a rugby player’s career, and representing your country is a true honour, but in some cases of this year’s competition, the difference in quality between the minnows and the big boys has looked farcical. I’m fully for giving the ‘smaller’ nations their chance at the biggest stage, but they have to improve – and fast.

Teams such as Japan, Canada, Romania, Russia, and Namibia are all yet to win a game at this year’s competition, while Georgia have picked up one victory – against the Romanians – while Japan and Canada played out a draw.

Taking some examples, South Africa thrashed Namibia 87-0, Russia were crushed 62-12 by the Irish, England won 67-3 against Romania and the hosts destroyed Japan 83-7, running in 13 tries. There just hasn’t been the ‘shock’ result that neutrals want, or even a minnow running a giant close.

This has lead me to my opinion that the smaller teams should face tougher qualifying campaigns in order to reach the World Cup, maybe by reducing the number of teams in the finals, in order to avoid the embarrassment that some teams may face. There are currently complete mismatches at present and it’s as though the organisers include them to let the big teams warm-up for the second round matches, ensuring that they get the biggest teams in the latter stages of the tournament.

It’s obvious that the organisers want the money from broadcasters attracted by the biggest teams playing at the business end of the tournament, but at present, the competition is laughable. Grounds have been half-full at best in some cases, while the only people watching on television could well involve the family and friends of those taking part.

The World Cup is an opportunity to broadcast the very best rugby around the world, increasing participation and interest, which they’re undoubtedly doing by having the smaller nations involved – it is tangible evidence – but there are too many at present, and those there need to improve significantly ahead of the next tournament.

 

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