Fired up for the World Rugby Rugby World Cup?

The World Cup is clearly a cash cow for the people formerly known as the IRB, hence them having enough in the piggy bank to change their name to the pompous and to be honest, ridiculous, “World Rugby” in order to deliver the WR RWC next year.

Tank Lanning in his column for Ultimate Rugby

All fired up for the World Rugby Rugby World Cup next year? If the PR being dished out in fairly substantial quantities a full 12 months out from the event is to be believed, it is going to be “Too good to miss”.

For me, a little too much is made of this quadrennial tournament, hence the dreaded words from coaches going through a bad patch mid World Cup cycle: “Judge me on our World Cup performance” in order to buy themselves a little time. And now with players planning their overseas stints so as to be available for national sides come the tournament, there is even more emphasis on it.

The pool games are all about the beer price (especially for us Saffers suffering the 20/1 exchange rate) as only 5 or 6 teams in the world can realistically win the thing, leaving world rugby hinging on 7 knockout games where the bounce of the ball could decide your fate for the next 4 years.

It’s clearly a cash cow for the people formerly known as the IRB (especially when held in a country that delivers Pounds Stirling), hence them having enough in the piggy bank to change their name to the pompous and to be honest, ridiculous, “World Rugby” in order to deliver the World Rugby Rugby World Cup next year.

So they replaced “International” with “World” and dropped the word “Board”, thus becoming a mere noun that must be very tricky to copyright, instead of an entity that carried a fair amount of gravitas. Why?

And I see that the owners of the domain have recently changed their business plan, with the URL now “Possibly For Sale”. However “All Offers Below $10,000 USD will be discarded”.

Just imagine the cash and time being spent on changing the branding of every property they own from IRB to World Rugby. Perhaps time and money better spent on looking at the actual game?

Speaking of the game. The other negative of the World Cup is that it has traditionally been won by the oldest, biggest side with the best defence. When so much is at stake, coaches and teams tend to go into their shells and revert to what could be termed “Old fashioned” rugby.

Look, at the World Cup, you could probably dish up dog turd with a side of snake venom and people would not complain, but for how long? Super Rugby is won by the team with the best all round team, and that includes the ball in hand stuff. In South Africa the Currie Cup is being praised for dishing up a more exciting “Heads up” game that looks to use the width of the field. Is this not the game that people want to see more of?

If initiatives in Australia – without doubt the Southern Hemisphere side facing the biggest competition for eyeballs given the dominance of League and Aussie Rules – are to believed, then the answer to my question is an unequivocal “Yes”.

The National Rugby Championship kicked off in Australia last week with organisers are “Hoping to see a better brand of rugby” given the tweaks to the rules they are playing.

The experimental rule changes include making a penalty and drop goal worth 2 points and a conversion worth 3, the defending scrum half not being allowed to follow the ball down the side of the scrum, stopping the ‘hold up tackle’, and the bonus point being awarded to the team who wins by 3 or more tries.

Not every innovation will work out, but at least they are attempting to find ways to make the game more attractive. And given that the Aussies have gone from dreadfully dull derbies in 2013 to winning Super Rugby in 2014, perhaps this sort of innovative thinking is already starting to bear fruit?

World rugby (as in the noun, not World Rugby) needs to watch out for these Aussies!

Or is Super Rugby still not worth opening the curtains for, even if being played in your front garden?

One Comment

  1. The only World Cup, to my mind, won by the oldest, biggest team was England in 2003. We had a relatively young team in 1995, with Os and Percy (maybe John Smit) the only really old guys in 2007.

    Defense is definitely the biggest focus point when it comes to crunch time in the tournament, but the winning Aussie teams (especially 1999) were very attacking with Larkam & Gregan at the helm.

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