What about international tournaments between World Cups?

You can't have a Lions Tour one year out from the World Cup. If we need more space in the calendar for significant international competitions, then I can't see the Lions surviving.

26 Nov 2013
ASHES: Talking points from Brisbane day one

It's not just the English. Jim Maxwell criticized it during his commentary.

21 Nov 2013
World Cup to lift rugby in Japan: IRB boss

The best thing to happen to the Rugby World Cup in Japan is the fact that Tokyo was awarded the Olympics for the following year. Certainly, the rugby will be held nationwide, and not just concentrated in the capital, but the country will see the World Cup as something of a dry run for 2020. This means there will be more of an effort to drum up support for the matches. If rugby can deliver some entertainment and drama on the pitch - by no means guaranteed - then the JRFU might have something to work with afterwards. Probably not a good idea for Gosper to talk about tapping the growing youth market in Asia when he talks about Japan. The country has a low birth rate and rapidly ageing population. Sports are competing for a dwindling, not burgeoning, base of youngsters. As Matt says above, the best boost rugby could get in Japan is if the national team could win more against significant opponents. The Welsh win was good. No-one deceives themselves about the strength of that team but it still counts as a feather in the cap. Japan has yet to win a match at a Rugby World Cup. They should have won at least one in New Zealand, probably two, but ended up losing three and could only manage a draw with Canada. In 2015, since they usually top Asian qualification, Japan will almost certainly be in the Group B with South Africa, Samoa and Scotland. The remaining team will be the second-placed Americas qualifier. That probably means USA, although Uruguay could still pull off a surprise. That's a tougher proposition than 2011, not least because the squad will be knocked about against the Boks and the Samoans. The tournament calendar pretty much obliges them to send out a second string against the top teams, in order to stay fresh for the games they believe they might win. Unfortunately, this usually means copping something of a hiding, which is never a good look for casual fans.

20 Nov 2013
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