IRB promises fairer World Cup schedule

By The Crowd, The Crowd is a Roar Guru


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    The International Rugby Board said on Monday it has revamped the 2015 World Cup match schedule to stop giving top nations an unfair advantage by allowing them a week’s rest between games.

    IRB chief executive Brett Gosper also said he had moved to clamp down on clubs preventing players from smaller nations attending the tournament, although he admitted it was a difficult problem to solve.

    Small nations complained bitterly during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand that the timetable was skewed towards the game’s traditional superpowers because their matches were scheduled at the weekends to maximise television audiences.

    This gave them six or seven days to recover, while the less high-profile sides often had to play mid-week and weekend matches, giving them as little as three days between matches, before a longer break.

    Gosper said the timetable for the 2015 tournament in England, due to be released in late April or early May, had been altered to fix the problem.

    “There’s very strong fairness in terms of rest periods and so on. It will be the same for all teams,” he told reporters. “It will be far more equal compared to the last World Cup.”

    New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew backed the move, saying it was a question of fairness.

    “We asked for it,” he said. “We thought that it was unjust that the small unions were asked to play a critical event with shorter (rest) times than our games, so tier one nations made that request at the end of the last World Cup.”

    Gosper said the IRB was also working to address concerns raised by smaller nations, particularly in the Pacific, about European clubs preventing their players from participating in world cup tournaments.

    He said the IRB recently held a meeting on the issue, attended by representatives from the English and French leagues, and warned clubs they were obliged to release players and could face sanctions if they refused to do so.

    But the IRB chief admitted it was a difficult issue to enforce, despite assurances from the clubs that they would abide by the regulations and not hold back players from international duties.

    “It’s a bit like tax-dodging, there are always going to be around-the-fringes issues,” he said.

    “Maybe things will happen behind our backs that we can’t quite control. All we can do is make sure that the intentions behind regulation nine are imposed as best as they possibly can be and made as robust as possible.”

    © AFP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (25)

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 3:26am
      Shop said | April 23rd 2013 @ 3:26am | ! Report

      The IRB sticking up for the minnows?!? I’m in shock!

      • April 24th 2013 @ 1:01am
        Matthew Skellett said | April 24th 2013 @ 1:01am | ! Report

        Make that a double -take for me too Shop , to hear Mr Tew say he’s for fairness in the Rugby World has gotta be front-page news if Mr O’Brien was dead he’d be making like a rotisserie right now

        • April 24th 2013 @ 1:14am
          Matthew Skellett said | April 24th 2013 @ 1:14am | ! Report

          AND while we’re about it why doesn’t the IRB either SCRAP or OVERHAUL the WORLD RUGBY RATINGS Table???- it’s a gerry-mander of power and priviledge and only serves to reward the Top 10 countries who largely only play each other anyways and is a blight on the wprld-wide development of the game

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 5:46am
      jus de couchon said | April 23rd 2013 @ 5:46am | ! Report

      Twickenham will and should decide what decisions made by the IRB are acceptable. Rugby is a business now and revenues generated by England mean they will have the last say about future World Cup scheduling. Get real.

      • April 23rd 2013 @ 6:35am
        mania said | April 23rd 2013 @ 6:35am | ! Report

        jus de couchon – yes lets get real. minnows shouldnt even bother turning up as they dont stand a chance.this tournament isnt a celebration of rugby on the global stage but solely for the top tier teams to show how invincible they are. they should just take the IRB rulings like the good little tier 2 teams they are.

      • April 23rd 2013 @ 6:38am
        Justin2 said | April 23rd 2013 @ 6:38am | ! Report

        You’re a muppett

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 6:22am
      crusader fan said | April 23rd 2013 @ 6:22am | ! Report

      I think everyone especially the minnows should thank Eliota Sapolu the Samoan Midfielder, who raised the issued of unfairness in game schedule during the last RWC. It was funny how the IRB reacted when he used some colourful language, but if he didn’t said what he said nothing was going to change.

      Well done IRB for making the change as well as the Eliota Sapolu for raising this important issue.

      • April 23rd 2013 @ 8:13pm
        Keeping it real said | April 23rd 2013 @ 8:13pm | ! Report


    • April 23rd 2013 @ 6:38am
      mania said | April 23rd 2013 @ 6:38am | ! Report

      be good now that the euro clubs have been given the world to release their test players. suppose they have to for this tournament

      • Roar Guru

        April 23rd 2013 @ 12:31pm
        AdamS said | April 23rd 2013 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

        Did any player in 2011 stick his hand up and say his club was holding him prisoner?
        I think they are all released, just incentivized to not want to go.

        • April 24th 2013 @ 10:23am
          atlas said | April 24th 2013 @ 10:23am | ! Report

          That would be Henry Speight – paid not to play for Fiji RWC 2011.
          Incentivised, as you say.

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 7:10am
      nickoldschool said | April 23rd 2013 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      “It will be far more equal compared to the last World Cup.” Good. Why did we have to wait to 2015 to aim at fairness between all rugby nations?

      The fact they admit it wasnt a priority until now says it all.

      • April 23rd 2013 @ 10:01am
        gurudoright said | April 23rd 2013 @ 10:01am | ! Report

        To be fair, it has only been the last 3 tournaments. Prior to that each group had 4 teams which allowed equal time between games for everyone. I can understand why the IRB scheduled the why they did with odd number of teams in each group and no matter how hard you try the scheduling won’t be entirely fair.
        Although I agree with you, it shouldn’t have taken 3 tournaments to sort out the problem

        • April 23rd 2013 @ 11:02am
          nickoldschool said | April 23rd 2013 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          You are right guru, it’s almost impossible to allow equal time between games for everyone and I also understand the fact networks want big teams to play on w-e.

          What I didn’t like was the fact it was really deliberate and they didn’t even try or even think of trying being fair with everyone. Same with tests between PI nations and the big ones, Its a fairly new instalment I do like it a lot. I’d rather get a wallabies vs Samoa than an Oz v Scots or a 5th test v Wales. Things are changing for the better I think.

    • April 23rd 2013 @ 5:28pm
      Kuruki said | April 23rd 2013 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

      About time. This is a positive step for Rugby. Winning the World cup after so long should have felt like the greatest achievement, but to me it didn’t. It felt cheap, because we had such a huge advantage over other minnows and that took the gloss of it in my eyes.