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Thread: My Plan for the future of World Rugby

  1. #1
    stimo is offline Frankenstein's monster - The Ferrari F430 Banned user
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    Default My Plan for the future of World Rugby

    For those that care, here is something i have been working on to change the way rugby is played season to season.





    Proposal for a World Test Match Challenge Trophy

    Professionalism and the growth of the Rugby World Cup have undoubtedly lifted rugby union to a new level in terms of entertainment and skill. However, modern international rugby is lacking in some areas. A World Test Match Challenge Trophy might assist in bringing back some of what has been lost in the professional era.

    Problems with modern test rugby

    The Rugby World Cup is, and should remain, the game's principal showpiece,. However, an attitude is growing in both the media and some national unions that the World Cup is the be-all and end-all of test rugby. Test matches between World Cups, especially those outside of the Six Nations and Tri-Nations, are no longer regarded as important tests that must be won at all cost. Rather they are being treated as “friendlies” providing an opportunity for development or rotation of players even at the cost of victory. Whilst there is a need for test teams to blood new players and avoid overusing existing players, this should not be an excuse to devalue the game or deprive fans of full-strength test matches. Too often in the lead?up to the current World Cup, and even during it, rugby supporters have paid their hard-earned cash to see a test match only to be fobbed off with a match involving what amounts to one or two national “B” teams masquerading as a full international test.

    This attitude also leads to a skewing of the IRB's otherwise excellent ranking system. It can now be seen from the World Cup playoffs that the apparent gulf between the Southern Hemisphere and the North was not as wide as it appeared from the rankings. Unfortunately, with the decline of full tours, the only time one sees a full-strength Northern Hemisphere team play a test against a full-strength Southern team seems to be in a World Cup, so there is no way to directly gauge their relative strengths.

    Another issue in modern rugby is the gulf between the top nations and the rest. There has been progress in this area, with regional championships like the European Nations Cup, Nations Cup and Pacific Nations Cup paying some dividends in the relative success of the minor nations in this year's World Cup. However, there is little realistic prospect in the foreseeable future of, say, a Pacific nation winning the World Cup which is currently the only trophy for all nations may compete. The prospect of a serious trophy available for a one-off match would increase interest from fans and media in matches where an upset would not just be embarrassing (but perhaps tolerable in the name of "development&quot but would result in the loss of an important international trophy.

    Required characteristics of a solution

    An additional prize open to all nations would assist in remedying these problems by giving the unions, players, fans and media a reason to take non-World Cup matches seriously. This increased interest would also increase income for the competing unions. Any such prize would need the following characteristics:
    All nations must be able to compete.
    It must be independent of the World Cup and the existing regional championships.
    It must be realistically winnable by non-tier one nations even when playing against tier-one nations. This means it must be winnable in a one-off test rather than a series, round-robin or knock-out type competition. In anything other than a one-off match there is too little chance of a minor nation beating a tier one team.
    It must not require any additional tests to be scheduled. Given the current overcrowding of the rugby calendar, any additional, new tournament would either be a non-starter or only attract under-strength teams from major nations. The required solution needs to be overlayed onto the current competitions and tours.
    The solution

    There is an example, albeit it at domestic level, of a competition that provides a serious, highly-desirable trophy for one-off matches, for which all relevant teams may compete and that does not require any additional matches to be scheduled. This is the Ranfurly Shield, which, as you no doubt know, is a challenge trophy played for between New Zealand provincial Unions. Any team that defeats the holder in an official challenge is declared the new holder (similar to a world boxing title). The two teams may be from the same or different provincial divisions. The challenge match may be either an Air New Zealand Cup match or a pre-season fixture. The trophy can change hands several times in a season. In New Zealand, the Ranfurly Shield is viewed by fans as the pre-eminent domestic prize above the Air New Zealand Cup (and its predecessor National Provincial Championship).

    A similar trophy, the World Test Match Challenge Trophy, ought to be instituted for international test matches under the following conditions:

    ·The Trophy, named after a suitable individual or place (perhaps Raeburn, after the location of the first ever international in 1871 between Scotland and England?) will be first put at stake in the first match played by the new World Cup holders, South Africa. (South Africa are scheduled to play Wales on 24 November 2007) and the winner declared the Holder.

    ·The trophy is subsequently to be put at stake in any test match (home or away) between the Holder and any another nation, known as the Challenger. (Composite teams such as the British and Irish Lions and the Pacific Islanders will not be eligible to challenge). The winner would either remain or become the Holder. A draw would result in the Holder retaining the title.

    It can immediately be seen that such a trophy would be likely to change hands several times between World Cups. It would take only one upset result for a non-Tier One nation to win it at which point other minor nations may well be able to successfully challenge.

    Enclosed for your interest is a sequential list of hypothetical holders and a list of records that would exist had this type of trophy been put at stake in the very first test match between England and Scotland in 1871 and at every subsequent test match played by the putative Holders throughout time. As you can see, no less than eleven nations would have managed to hold this trophy including Argentina, Romania and Samoa. Italy, on the other hand would never have won it. In the professional era up to 2006, the title would have changed hands nearly four times a year on average. In 2007 there have been no less than eleven successful challenges. Since 1996, each of the Tri Nations teams have held the title, as have each of the Home Nations, France and Samoa. Many more teams have had the opportunity to challenge, albeit unsuccessfully.

    The nature of the competition and the ability to recognise hypothetical past winners would give this competition a ready-made history and records. It would also be easy to identify an appropriate first holder. It also noteworthy that almost invariably the title would be at stake throughout the play-off stages of a World Cup and would be held by the World Cup winner, at least until its next match. This provides yet another benefit in that a team that holds the World Cup but performs poorly (such as England between 2003 and 2007) would not retain monopoly rights to the only trophy open to all national teams. The IRB rankings may have provided some solace to non-England fans over the past few years but nothing beats silverware in the cupboard!

    This competition would provide concrete recognition to truly great teams (such as the All Blacks of 1987 to 1990 who, hypothetically, would have held the trophy through a record 18 test matches) and would reward one off upsets (such as Samoa in 1999). Every single rugby fan with whom this idea has been discussed agrees that it would be a popular and successful idea.

    In practical terms, this would be a simple competition to institute. There would be no need for extra matches to be scheduled, or other such organisation. All that would be needed is the provision of a suitable trophy plus a little promotion and marketing to the public and to the national unions. Such a trophy would be enthusiastically embraced by a rugby public that is becoming jaded with the four-year World Cup cycle and repetitive Six and Tri Nations.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by stimo View Post
    For those that care, here is something i have been working on to change the way rugby is played season to season.





    Proposal for a World Test Match Challenge Trophy

    Professionalism and the growth of the Rugby World Cup have undoubtedly lifted rugby union to a new level in terms of entertainment and skill. However, modern international rugby is lacking in some areas. A World Test Match Challenge Trophy might assist in bringing back some of what has been lost in the professional era.

    Problems with modern test rugby

    The Rugby World Cup is, and should remain, the game's principal showpiece,. However, an attitude is growing in both the media and some national unions that the World Cup is the be-all and end-all of test rugby. Test matches between World Cups, especially those outside of the Six Nations and Tri-Nations, are no longer regarded as important tests that must be won at all cost. Rather they are being treated as “friendlies” providing an opportunity for development or rotation of players even at the cost of victory. Whilst there is a need for test teams to blood new players and avoid overusing existing players, this should not be an excuse to devalue the game or deprive fans of full-strength test matches. Too often in the lead?up to the current World Cup, and even during it, rugby supporters have paid their hard-earned cash to see a test match only to be fobbed off with a match involving what amounts to one or two national “B” teams masquerading as a full international test.

    This attitude also leads to a skewing of the IRB's otherwise excellent ranking system. It can now be seen from the World Cup playoffs that the apparent gulf between the Southern Hemisphere and the North was not as wide as it appeared from the rankings. Unfortunately, with the decline of full tours, the only time one sees a full-strength Northern Hemisphere team play a test against a full-strength Southern team seems to be in a World Cup, so there is no way to directly gauge their relative strengths.

    Another issue in modern rugby is the gulf between the top nations and the rest. There has been progress in this area, with regional championships like the European Nations Cup, Nations Cup and Pacific Nations Cup paying some dividends in the relative success of the minor nations in this year's World Cup. However, there is little realistic prospect in the foreseeable future of, say, a Pacific nation winning the World Cup which is currently the only trophy for all nations may compete. The prospect of a serious trophy available for a one-off match would increase interest from fans and media in matches where an upset would not just be embarrassing (but perhaps tolerable in the name of "development&quot but would result in the loss of an important international trophy.

    Required characteristics of a solution

    An additional prize open to all nations would assist in remedying these problems by giving the unions, players, fans and media a reason to take non-World Cup matches seriously. This increased interest would also increase income for the competing unions. Any such prize would need the following characteristics:
    All nations must be able to compete.
    It must be independent of the World Cup and the existing regional championships.
    It must be realistically winnable by non-tier one nations even when playing against tier-one nations. This means it must be winnable in a one-off test rather than a series, round-robin or knock-out type competition. In anything other than a one-off match there is too little chance of a minor nation beating a tier one team.
    It must not require any additional tests to be scheduled. Given the current overcrowding of the rugby calendar, any additional, new tournament would either be a non-starter or only attract under-strength teams from major nations. The required solution needs to be overlayed onto the current competitions and tours.
    The solution

    There is an example, albeit it at domestic level, of a competition that provides a serious, highly-desirable trophy for one-off matches, for which all relevant teams may compete and that does not require any additional matches to be scheduled. This is the Ranfurly Shield, which, as you no doubt know, is a challenge trophy played for between New Zealand provincial Unions. Any team that defeats the holder in an official challenge is declared the new holder (similar to a world boxing title). The two teams may be from the same or different provincial divisions. The challenge match may be either an Air New Zealand Cup match or a pre-season fixture. The trophy can change hands several times in a season. In New Zealand, the Ranfurly Shield is viewed by fans as the pre-eminent domestic prize above the Air New Zealand Cup (and its predecessor National Provincial Championship).

    A similar trophy, the World Test Match Challenge Trophy, ought to be instituted for international test matches under the following conditions:

    ·The Trophy, named after a suitable individual or place (perhaps Raeburn, after the location of the first ever international in 1871 between Scotland and England?) will be first put at stake in the first match played by the new World Cup holders, South Africa. (South Africa are scheduled to play Wales on 24 November 2007) and the winner declared the Holder.

    ·The trophy is subsequently to be put at stake in any test match (home or away) between the Holder and any another nation, known as the Challenger. (Composite teams such as the British and Irish Lions and the Pacific Islanders will not be eligible to challenge). The winner would either remain or become the Holder. A draw would result in the Holder retaining the title.

    It can immediately be seen that such a trophy would be likely to change hands several times between World Cups. It would take only one upset result for a non-Tier One nation to win it at which point other minor nations may well be able to successfully challenge.

    Enclosed for your interest is a sequential list of hypothetical holders and a list of records that would exist had this type of trophy been put at stake in the very first test match between England and Scotland in 1871 and at every subsequent test match played by the putative Holders throughout time. As you can see, no less than eleven nations would have managed to hold this trophy including Argentina, Romania and Samoa. Italy, on the other hand would never have won it. In the professional era up to 2006, the title would have changed hands nearly four times a year on average. In 2007 there have been no less than eleven successful challenges. Since 1996, each of the Tri Nations teams have held the title, as have each of the Home Nations, France and Samoa. Many more teams have had the opportunity to challenge, albeit unsuccessfully.

    The nature of the competition and the ability to recognise hypothetical past winners would give this competition a ready-made history and records. It would also be easy to identify an appropriate first holder. It also noteworthy that almost invariably the title would be at stake throughout the play-off stages of a World Cup and would be held by the World Cup winner, at least until its next match. This provides yet another benefit in that a team that holds the World Cup but performs poorly (such as England between 2003 and 2007) would not retain monopoly rights to the only trophy open to all national teams. The IRB rankings may have provided some solace to non-England fans over the past few years but nothing beats silverware in the cupboard!

    This competition would provide concrete recognition to truly great teams (such as the All Blacks of 1987 to 1990 who, hypothetically, would have held the trophy through a record 18 test matches) and would reward one off upsets (such as Samoa in 1999). Every single rugby fan with whom this idea has been discussed agrees that it would be a popular and successful idea.

    In practical terms, this would be a simple competition to institute. There would be no need for extra matches to be scheduled, or other such organisation. All that would be needed is the provision of a suitable trophy plus a little promotion and marketing to the public and to the national unions. Such a trophy would be enthusiastically embraced by a rugby public that is becoming jaded with the four-year World Cup cycle and repetitive Six and Tri Nations.

    Chris - like the idea, I'd agree it would make the autumn internationals worthy of watching - ie England V southern hemisphere touring sides. It would be interesting though to see how the fixtures start to change to ensure certain big names could mount a challenge to the current cup holders to satisfy television rights etc

  3. #3
    stimo is offline Frankenstein's monster - The Ferrari F430 Banned user
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jules View Post
    Chris - like the idea, I'd agree it would make the autumn internationals worthy of watching - ie England V southern hemisphere touring sides. It would be interesting though to see how the fixtures start to change to ensure certain big names could mount a challenge to the current cup holders to satisfy television rights etc
    Its something i created with a Kiwi friend of mine, but it all depends on everyone actually giving it a go. Its not going to work from the word go, but we believe its something that in the end would create some seriously interesting and competitive rugby each and every season and when everyone has got used it it, TV would find viewing figures would be far far bigger and attract huge amounts of new supporters to the sport.

    (Bacially we are trying to get rid of Wendyball) Ha

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    Very interesting post - like the idea of the "Challenge Cup" - I note that their was some input from a Kiwi - it will give a chance for the chokers to hold a bit of Silverware !!!!!

  5. #5
    stimo is offline Frankenstein's monster - The Ferrari F430 Banned user
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graeme View Post
    Very interesting post - like the idea of the "Challenge Cup" - I note that their was some input from a Kiwi - it will give a chance for the chokers to hold a bit of Silverware !!!!!
    Yep, my business partner who was climbing kilimanjaro while NZ were getting dumped out by France

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