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Alternatives to the Nations Championship

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Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby NaBUru38 » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 14:27

The other tier 2 rugby website published this article:
https://tier2rugby.blogspot.com/2019/10 ... endar.html

It argues that proposed Nations Championship was poorly designed, as the round-robin format "creates a higher barrier to entry for expansion to new emerging teams". Instead it argues that a "RWC style tournament is far more practical", so with a group phase and a knockout phase.

For example, three years ago I propsoed this European Championship:

8 teams split in two groups of four (3 matches), for example:

o- Group 1: England, Ireland, Scotland, Georgia.
o- Group 2: France, Wales, Italy, Romania.

The top two in each group advance to the Championship.
The bottom two play the Challenge (2 matches), for example:

o- Championship: England / Ireland vs France / Wales.
o- Challenge: Scotland / Georgia vs Italy / Romania.

It's a total 5 rounds, so it's no big change for the current teams.


The same could be done with non-European teams:

o- Group 1: New Zealand, Argentina, Samoa, Japan.
o- Group 2: Australia, South Africa, United States, Fiji.

o- Championship: New Zealand / Japan vs Australia / South Africa.
o- Challenge: Argentina / Samoa vs United States / Fiji.


To reduce travel, each group could be held in a single country. And the tournament doesn't need to be held every year.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby 4N » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 14:41

I don’t think Fiji or Samoa would be in favor of a single-site tournament that they would never host, meaning no home tests for their fans. But as the article says, there’s zero chance of the annual tournaments being scrapped.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby sk 88 » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 16:10

In that model there would at least be room for further friendlies, particularly if the SH version was held 4 yearly as suggested in the original article.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby iul » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 20:14

Football has shown the way. There's no need to keep inventing all sort of other stuff. Have yearly regional championships, like an expanded 6N (to 8) with p&r, and regional cups every 4 years, like a 16 team rugby euro and the World Cup and tests in June and November

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Edgar » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 20:30

Anything short of merit-based regional competitions is simply going to perpetuate elitism and stifle the game's potential for unlimited growth. In Europe that is the easiest thing in the world to solve, requiring only the addition of a promotion-relegation fixture to tie all of Europe together in annual international competition. The Six Nations won't have it, you say. Well, who's running the international game? Time for an ultimatum. Let the Six Nations wooden spooner play it at home to give them every chance of retaining their spot, but they must be forced to add that fixture.

ARC is up and running in the Americas, with Argentina fully involved, and I've also mentioned recently two ideas for the Asia-Pacific region, with NZ and Australia joining Japan and the Islands in a 6 Nations tournament (2 groups of 3 at a single venue), and an expanded Asian Top 3 with Japan returning and the Islands joining, which would help bring teams like Korea and Hong Kong up to standard.

Africa is a tough one due to the vast gulf between the Springboks and the rest. Obviously it wouldn't be practicable to included the South African test team in regional competition at this time. But perhaps they could begin to play an annual test with Namibia, who would in turn return to regional competition, thereby serving as the "bridge." Meanwhile, the Rugby Championship would continue as a single round tournament, providing the Boks with the tougher competition they obviously require.

Meanwhile, rather than confining the elite teams to set fixtures against other elite teams, as proposals such as the Nations Championship would do, simply make it a requirement of first tier teams that they play a minimum one test against a non-first tier team on the summer and autumn tours. That could be arranged very easily. If you're going to South Africa, play Namibia, if you're head to Argentina, play Uruguay, if you're touring Down Under, play a Pacific Islands side (either in the Islands or NZ or Australia themselves), and when you're headed to the 6 Nations play Georgia, Romania or Russia for instance.

These are much simpler solutions than trying to force the top teams into rigid programs against prearranged opposition that would only be a slight improvement on the current situation and themselves become monotonous in time.

iul wrote:Football has shown the way. There's no need to keep inventing all sort of other stuff. Have yearly regional championships, like an expanded 6N (to 8) with p&r, and regional cups every 4 years, like a 16 team rugby euro and the World Cup and tests in June and November


Exactly what I've been saying. Ditto World Cup expansion. We don't need all these fancy rugby leaguesque ideas when FIFA has already done the hard work and given us a perfectly good model to follow. & returning to a more extensive and independent qualifying system would help remedy the aforementioned problem.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Working Class Rugger » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 23:22

I've been looking at it from a primarily Pacific standpoint but it could be extended to involvement other regions. Bare with me here.

Japan is added to the RC making it a 5 team championship with each team playing 4 games. Alongside this, all three of the Pacific based RC teams also join the 3 PI's and both NA teams in renewed PNC structure played over a two year period with one game played in the July window. One in and around the RC (for the teams playing in the RC this would be counted same for USA and Canada in the ARC) and another in the November window. Basically the goal would be to provide each team with 8 higher quality games over a two year period.

Something similar involving SA and Argentina could be done. Uruguay, Namibia (or the next best African nation) and the likes of Georgia, Russia, Romania and Spain. Similar set up. Games over July and November and during the RC windows.

The question from there will be how best to integrate new teams. This would be where things diverge a little. For the PNC that would involve the winner from essentially a combined Asia-Pacific Championship involving the next best 6 - 8 AP teams played once again over a two year period. While for the let's call it the Atlantic Nations Cup side of the equation that team would come from the winner of a mini-tournament that takes the best non PNC/ANC teams from the respective regional competition (so let's say 2 from Europe and one from the Americas and Africa) played in a single location.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Armchair Fan » Fri, 25 Oct 2019, 23:30

Working Class Rugger wrote:Something similar involving SA and Argentina could be done. Uruguay, Namibia (or the next best African nation) and the likes of Georgia, Russia, Romania and Spain. Similar set up. Games over July and November and during the RC windows.

Sorry, I know we're not talking about the same. But if you put "President's XV" and "Jaguares" after SA and Argentina you've basically defined Tbilisi and Nations Cup from 5-9 years ago.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 00:31

Armchair Fan wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:Something similar involving SA and Argentina could be done. Uruguay, Namibia (or the next best African nation) and the likes of Georgia, Russia, Romania and Spain. Similar set up. Games over July and November and during the RC windows.

Sorry, I know we're not talking about the same. But if you put "President's XV" and "Jaguares" after SA and Argentina you've basically defined Tbilisi and Nations Cup from 5-9 years ago.


There's certainly and element of that. My proposed structure isn't even my preferred structure. I still believe the Nations Championship should have involved two divisions of 16 teams split into 4x4 pools. With games played in the July and November windows over two years. You play your pool opponents twice as well as a 4 cross over games with teams from a corresponding pool. With the November window in the 2nd year used as the finals/ranking games. The 16th ranked team would be relegated with the winner of the 2nd division moving up.

This would have allowed for more interaction between tiers. A clear path to progression and wouldn't have interfered with the 6Ns/RC/ENC/ARC etc. All teams would play a minimum of 10 games over 2 years in this structure. Most likely 12 with the rankings games. Below that you could use a similar set up to the one proposed by WR for the third div with two divisions of 16 nations each split in pools of 4x4. Again over two years. Winner of the respective pools move into a semi-final/final systems to determine the divisional winner who would play on the same day at the same venue as the promo/relegation game and the 1st Div final and the eventual women's equivalents.

That's 64 nations across 3 divisions permitting greater exposure to differing styles and playing standards within each division.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby iul » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 03:14

Each region should have a yearly 8 team championship with p&r at the end of it. All the teams should be full test teams with caps awarded. Each team should playthe other team once. Every 4 years they should also have a cup, in addition to the championship.
The regions should be: Europe, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Each region should also have a champions League equivalent for clubs/franchises.
If some nations choose to also have something extra, like a championship between NZ, Aus, SA and Arg, then they are free to do so, provided they participate in the three competitions listed above.
Simples.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 04:52

iul wrote:Each region should have a yearly 8 team championship with p&r at the end of it. All the teams should be full test teams with caps awarded. Each team should playthe other team once. Every 4 years they should also have a cup, in addition to the championship.
The regions should be: Europe, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Each region should also have a champions League equivalent for clubs/franchises.
If some nations choose to also have something extra, like a championship between NZ, Aus, SA and Arg, then they are free to do so, provided they participate in the three competitions listed above.
Simples.


Far too much disparity in a few of those to make it 1)competitive enough to benefit all participants and 2) be commercially attractive. Broadcasters are not going to want to pay to see the Books pulverise Kenya.

The goal should be to achieve a level of parity among the divisions. Which will require crossing regions. But will also bring the greatest long term benefit.

The current regional set ups would still also exist giving each nation in the system 8-10 competitive Test matches a year.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby iul » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 06:55

Kenya and the other African minnows would raise their level quickly

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby antlat » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 10:30

I actually like the new competition system recently established by FIBA International Basketball more than the FIFA system.

I think rugby should follow their example more than FIFA's.

I don't know how to pace diagrams or images on this forum but here is the link, http://www.fiba.basketball/calendar2017.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Armchair Fan » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 10:42

Do you like a competition system where the best players are excluded?

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby victorsra » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 13:59

iul wrote:Each region should have a yearly 8 team championship with p&r at the end of it. All the teams should be full test teams with caps awarded. Each team should playthe other team once. Every 4 years they should also have a cup, in addition to the championship.
The regions should be: Europe, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Each region should also have a champions League equivalent for clubs/franchises.
If some nations choose to also have something extra, like a championship between NZ, Aus, SA and Arg, then they are free to do so, provided they participate in the three competitions listed above.
Simples.


Simple, except for the "6N don't want expansion + relegation" part and "the Springboks don't have oposition in Africa and won't throw money away, they want to play NZ every year" part.
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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby antlat » Sat, 26 Oct 2019, 22:48

No calendar allows the best players in the world to play for their countries 100% of the time. Not even FIFA's. Australia is definetely not playing the FIFA World Cup qualifyiers with our best squad. Any system will have a club vs country issue.

I also said a similar system, not identical. I would still keep the current months of February/March, July, August/September and November for international rugby matches.

1 Regional Championship and 1 World Cup in a four year cycle. For example, 2021 for the regional Championships then 2023 for the World Cup.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Edinburra » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 07:56

Working Class Rugger wrote:
iul wrote:Each region should have a yearly 8 team championship with p&r at the end of it. All the teams should be full test teams with caps awarded. Each team should playthe other team once. Every 4 years they should also have a cup, in addition to the championship.
The regions should be: Europe, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Each region should also have a champions League equivalent for clubs/franchises.
If some nations choose to also have something extra, like a championship between NZ, Aus, SA and Arg, then they are free to do so, provided they participate in the three competitions listed above.
Simples.


Far too much disparity in a few of those to make it 1)competitive enough to benefit all participants and 2) be commercially attractive. Broadcasters are not going to want to pay to see the Books pulverise Kenya.

The goal should be to achieve a level of parity among the divisions. Which will require crossing regions. But will also bring the greatest long term benefit.

The current regional set ups would still also exist giving each nation in the system 8-10 competitive Test matches a year.


Why not make it on time zones , I have mentioned in other forums something similar and it would apply to club rugby as well for both commercial reasons as well as making it competitive.
You would run 3 regions , Americas , Euro/Africa and Asia/Pacific

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby thatrugbyguy » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 10:02

I'm still of the firm belief that World Cup Qualifiers are the way to go. You only have to see the difference in crowds that come to Qualifiers rather than regular test matches. When there's something on the line people and players are more invested.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Edinburra » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 10:13

Why not do both ? Ordinarily for football a two year cycle of matches results in qualification for a champioship. Why not make these regional competitons in one cycle resulting in a regional championship and the next cycle resulting in qualifying for a world cup.

Hoever , it would require , in my opinion , the removal of the Lions tours and using the autumn internationals as part of a regional qualifying championships. Countries will just have to cut their cloth accordingly , The 7 countries who benefit from the Lions tour would have to accept the drop in income but this should be offset with looking at the bigger picture and the potential gains from being more inclusive at club and country level.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby antlat » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 11:34

Why not make it on time zones , I have mentioned in other forums something similar and it would apply to club rugby as well for both commercial reasons as well as making it competitive.
You would run 3 regions , Americas , Euro/Africa and Asia/Pacific


The Davis Cup and Fed Cup in Tennis is based on this principal

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Tiernster » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 19:45

Timezone idea does seem to the best although Europe Africa would be very strong.

I think having what ever the solution is occurring 1 in 4 years only, preferably 2 years before a world cup would be preferable for alot of teams. Additional knockout experience, doesn't blow apart current tier 1 competitions, more meaning ful games between tier 1 and 2

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Working Class Rugger » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 22:37

Edinburra wrote:
Working Class Rugger wrote:
iul wrote:Each region should have a yearly 8 team championship with p&r at the end of it. All the teams should be full test teams with caps awarded. Each team should playthe other team once. Every 4 years they should also have a cup, in addition to the championship.
The regions should be: Europe, Americas, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
Each region should also have a champions League equivalent for clubs/franchises.
If some nations choose to also have something extra, like a championship between NZ, Aus, SA and Arg, then they are free to do so, provided they participate in the three competitions listed above.
Simples.


Far too much disparity in a few of those to make it 1)competitive enough to benefit all participants and 2) be commercially attractive. Broadcasters are not going to want to pay to see the Books pulverise Kenya.

The goal should be to achieve a level of parity among the divisions. Which will require crossing regions. But will also bring the greatest long term benefit.

The current regional set ups would still also exist giving each nation in the system 8-10 competitive Test matches a year.


Why not make it on time zones , I have mentioned in other forums something similar and it would apply to club rugby as well for both commercial reasons as well as making it competitive.
You would run 3 regions , Americas , Euro/Africa and Asia/Pacific


Sort of the thinking around adding Japan to the RC. At least from a Aus/NZ perspective.

The issue around time zones is again parity.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Superhans » Sun, 27 Oct 2019, 23:24

Edinburra wrote:Why not make it on time zones , I have mentioned in other forums something similar and it would apply to club rugby as well for both commercial reasons as well as making it competitive.
You would run 3 regions , Americas , Euro/Africa and Asia/Pacific


I think this makes the most sense. You could combine Asia/Pacific and the Americas for the time being (until both regions are stronger), at least at the top level or for a Cup tournament between world cups.

It'd be pretty cool to have 2 major Cup tournaments between World Cups:

EuroAfrica Cup, 16 teams: Current 6 Nations + Rugby Europe Championship + South Africa and top 3 teams from the Africa Cup

Pacific Cup, 12 teams: Rugby Championship teams (minus SA) + Japan, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, USA, Canada, Uruguay + 2 of Chile, Brazil, Hong Kong, South Korea etc. Expand to 16 teams when it makes sense.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Working Class Rugger » Mon, 28 Oct 2019, 01:10

Superhans wrote:
Edinburra wrote:Why not make it on time zones , I have mentioned in other forums something similar and it would apply to club rugby as well for both commercial reasons as well as making it competitive.
You would run 3 regions , Americas , Euro/Africa and Asia/Pacific


I think this makes the most sense. You could combine Asia/Pacific and the Americas for the time being (until both regions are stronger), at least at the top level or for a Cup tournament between world cups.

It'd be pretty cool to have 2 major Cup tournaments between World Cups:

EuroAfrica Cup, 16 teams: Current 6 Nations + Rugby Europe Championship + South Africa and top 3 teams from the Africa Cup

Pacific Cup, 12 teams: Rugby Championship teams (minus SA) + Japan, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, USA, Canada, Uruguay + 2 of Chile, Brazil, Hong Kong, South Korea etc. Expand to 16 teams when it makes sense.


Would have to offer significant financial benefits above and beyond the current set ups. Which to be honest seems like a bit of a stretch. You might as well look to reform things like the PNC instead of reinventing the wheel. In regards to the PNC you could have Aus and NZ join Japan, the 3 PI's and the two NA nations. Run it over two years ensuring everyone plays one another once in that cycle. Could set up a 2nd division by combining the Pacific/Asia. Call in the PN Shield. Winner of the shield plays for a place in the PNC.

Something similar could be done with Argentina and SA as the base. Include Uruguay and Namibia plus the top 4 from the ENC. Have one game played in the July window. Another in November. Use the the likes of the meetings between nations in the current championship structures to double up as part of this structure so for example. When Aus play NZ in the RC it also counts toward the PNC table. Same for when the USA plays Canada in the ARC or when the 4 ENC teams play one another in the ENC.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby TheStroBro » Mon, 28 Oct 2019, 03:11

antlat wrote:I actually like the new competition system recently established by FIBA International Basketball more than the FIFA system.

I think rugby should follow their example more than FIFA's.

I don't know how to pace diagrams or images on this forum but here is the link, http://www.fiba.basketball/calendar2017.


This shift in Calendar and putting the FIBA World Cup the year before the Olympics takes the best players out of contention. After a long NBA season, the best players from every country just take a pause. We saw this with the US team, we basically had a 4th choice side. NBA players aren't willing to commit to two long summers in a row when they play a very grueling season.

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Re: Alternatives to the Nations Championship

Postby Superhans » Mon, 28 Oct 2019, 08:27

Working Class Rugger wrote:Would have to offer significant financial benefits above and beyond the current set ups. Which to be honest seems like a bit of a stretch. You might as well look to reform things like the PNC instead of reinventing the wheel. In regards to the PNC you could have Aus and NZ join Japan, the 3 PI's and the two NA nations. Run it over two years ensuring everyone plays one another once in that cycle. Could set up a 2nd division by combining the Pacific/Asia. Call in the PN Shield. Winner of the shield plays for a place in the PNC.

Something similar could be done with Argentina and SA as the base. Include Uruguay and Namibia plus the top 4 from the ENC. Have one game played in the July window. Another in November. Use the the likes of the meetings between nations in the current championship structures to double up as part of this structure so for example. When Aus play NZ in the RC it also counts toward the PNC table. Same for when the USA plays Canada in the ARC or when the 4 ENC teams play one another in the ENC.


Competitions over 2 years are potentially too complicated, especially if in and around these competitions there are other tournaments. That was one of the strengths of the Nations Championship proposal - that everything counted towards it.

Maybe the 2 Cup tournaments between world cups could be held in the July window in Lions series years. I agree it'd be harder and less likely for the Unions to take the risk of scheduling them instead of the 6 Nations / RC one year. But the July tours in Lions years aren't that lucrative.

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