Rugby - A thug's game played by gentlemen

This France England game is a belter. I really don't understand why people want to change the rules to make the game more "exciting". Hope England win. Big soft spot for Jamie George.

As I understand it, Ireland's kind of the best team in the world right now, and has been for a bit, yes?

As the former player/Irishman here Pred I'd still argue that the Boks are the best team in the world. You can be a flat track bully in rugby but knock competions are the gold standard for me and arguably for the Rugby world. The Boks had to win that last World Cup the hard way facing teams who had a very easy game the prior week.

We could very easily go to South Africa this summer and win the series and beat New Zealand this November to cement our number 1 ranking and statisically we'd deserve it. It's just the failure to do it at a World Cup that hold us back from being taken 100% seriously.

Yeah, since the early 2000s South African Rugby at the national level has basically focussed purely on the World Cup. Don't be surprised if the next 3 years take a dip in form and ranking as the coaches start building to 2027.

There are also internal pressures that can undermine Springbok rugby outside of World Cup time which compromises results in things like the Rugby Championship and Tours.

New Zealand doesn't have these factors which means they can build to the WC and also have strong performances in between.

I feel that Ireland and other Northern Hemisphere teams seem to still have a very strong focus on the 6 Nations which is good for their overall performances and ranking but can leave them a bit exposed at WC time.

But to be fair, it was a bit of luck, discipline and pure bloody-mindedness that got SA the cup last time. It could easily have gone differently.

Agree with Axon. Rugby's world rankings system sometimes flatters to deceive. It doesn't help that there currently isn't a proper structure for the global game, which I think means that Autumn internationals disproportionately important and disproportionately favourable to Tier 1 nations (who tend to be better for the box office).

(I think there's general agreement that the new biennial tournament involving 6 Nations and SANZAAR nations will make this situation worse.)

Many, many moons ago, I remember reading a rugby commentator who argued that - once South Africa was readmitted to global rugby - they would be strong favourites to win every World Cup... such is the scale and quality of the domestic game in South Africa. That prediction turned out to be at least partly true. The RWC has turned into at least a partial duoply.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I feel that Ireland and other Northern Hemisphere teams seem to still have a very strong focus on the 6 Nations which is good for their overall performances and ranking but can leave them a bit exposed at WC time.

Six Nations pays for the game in Ireland. Same goes for Scotland, Wales and Italy. While England and France could afford finanically to blunder along, getting thrashed by smaller nations just cannot be allowed to happend for that long.

It's what makes the Six Nations so special and at the same time a drag on all those involved. Far too many players kept on long past their peak.

Yeah, that makes sense. It's too important to be treated the way SA treats the Rugby Championship in years 2 and 3 after a World Cup which is partly as a development tournament. They do still take it seriously, but you'll often find younger players in key positions where other teams wouldn't take that chance.