World Cup Draw – a conspiracy?

Andy Wood, perhaps better known as “The General” over at Camp SuperBru, together with his able lieutenant Richard Atkins, have come up with some real World Cup food for thought …

That it comes out on the day that the IRB are being accused of being a little money hungry by the New Zealand Rugby Union, is of course pure coincidence …

But it has long been thought that IRB are just a smidgeon protective of “Their” Northern Hemisphere teams, especially given the success of SANZAR in recent years …

So riddle me this, then:

The RWC draw was based not on the results of the preceding RWC, but on the IRB world rankings at a time when these things needed to be resolved, in 2008. And the top four teams in the world at that time were:

1. New Zealand
2. South Africa
3. Australia
4. Argentina

Now given that in just about any professional sports tournament, the draw is arranged so that the semi-finals should see the 1st seed take on the 4th, and the 2nd seed take on the 3rd, if the results play to the seedings, 1 beats 4 and 2 beats 3, setting up the final everyone wants to see: 1 v 2.

Giving the world what it wants – An All Black vs Springbok final …

Yet for RWC 2011, the intention of the draw was to produce these semi-finals:

1st (NZ) plays 2nd (SA)
3rd (Aus) plays 4th (Argentina)

And as Andy points out: “This obviously massively advantages the 4th seed, as instead of facing the All Blacks, they take on the Wallabies – a much tougher prospect now than they were in 2008 of course, but still the antipodean team you’d rather face”

Further, says Andy: “It was fairly predictable that a northern hemisphere team would supplant Argentina as the fourth seed: England or France.”

So is this the IRB trying to look after one of the Northern Hemisphere sides by giving them an easier semi that would have normally been the case?

Especially since commercially, it’s all about who plays in the final, not who wins it, because TV/media audiences in Europe (the UK, in particular) will be much, much bigger for the final and the week leading up to it if a Northern Hemisphere team is playing, and especially if it were to be England …

For a more thorough look into this, please take a look at Andy Wood’s blog by CLICKING HERE.