“We are trying to strike a balance between quality of play and ticket sales, and emmigration. If we let in Argentina or Tonga, the risk of a domestic team losing a match is simply too high right now. New Zealanders will not spend $200 to watch these amateurs defeat what’s left of our national side players. On the other hand, if we send our teams to the US, most of them will probably score lucrative contracts and not return. Samoa strikes the balance: the rugby is good, but not great, and who wants to move to Samoa? Have you been to Samoa?”
“I am now in a position to affect rugby in a much larger capacity than I ever could as a national team coach. Expanding the Pacific Nations Cup and raising the level of rugby in the so-called ‘2nd Tier’ nations is critical to the future of rugby, and I expect the locals to be grateful, very very grateful.”
The Rugby World Cup 2007 Tournament saw the emergance of several countries as legitimate teams or at least legitimate in years to come. Georgia made some enormous strides with their limited resources and in perhaps the toughest of the four pools. Fiji made the quarterfinals, upsetting the Welsh in possibly the most thrilling match of [...]
Rather than speculate wildly as to the results of this weekends games, let me make a case for the best possible result for Saturday’s semi finals: France over England and Argentina over South Africa. This sets up a repeat of the epic championship opener of France v Argentina.
Always the underdog at the big show, Georgia (formerly of the USSR) is currently defending their reputation – earned at the 2003 Rugby World Cup – as a determined and spirited side. Despite almost missing the 2003 RWC (the IRB had to step in to finance Georgia’s RWC kit and traveling expenses), the Lelos played [...]