After years of preparation and speculation, the 2019 Rugby World Cup finally gets underway tomorrow night.
We received this email recently from Roger Levey who argues that the quality of world rugby would be improved with a broader representation policy. His argument is below. Interested to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below.
Says Roger Levey: ‘Very few countries have a realistic chance of winning the Rugby World Cup. The top five or maybe six is a virtual given. The initial over riding interest amongst the top teams is whether or not they will make the final four and who will miss out on the semis. In the eyes of both the sporting public and all participating nations outside of the top six, who don’t have a chance, the World Cup is seen primarily as a wonderful rugby carnival. Here is an idea that could both broaden the the interest and also raise the standard of play in smaller rugby nations.
Once a country has selected its squad, any player who did not make the cut should be permitted to play for another country providing they have parental or family links to that country. In other words an Australian player (either born here or naturalised) whose parents came from say Fiji, should be permitted to play for Fiji without jeopardising his right to be selected to play for Australia in the future.
If Australia, or any other nation, could not fit a player into its World Cup squad, then that player should be permitted to play for the country either he or his parents came from if he was good enough. This would be a positive way of assisting the Pacific Island nations whilst at the same time creating huge public interest. It could arguably raise the standard of many games to the point fringe teams would be more competitive.
Just imagine the amount of players in New Zealand willing to help other countries. Maybe there are players in the UK of Canadian or European heritage. The IRB should redefine its citizenship guidelines for players able to represent a country. In any event this subject should make for some interesting discussion’.