2023 (expanded) World Cup in South Africa



  • The Rugby World Cup should return to South Africa in 2023, and the tournament should be expanded to 24 teams.
    The other three candidates are Ireland, France and Italy. Were any of these successful, that would mean a third straight World Cup in the Northern Hemisphere, even though it is the Southern Hemisphere which overwhelmingly dominates.
    It would also entail a return to the Six Nations for the fifth time in just ten tournaments, which is a little ridiculous for a sport with over one hundred affiliated member nations and self-professed global pretentions.
    Should it go to Ireland, that would also mean, technically-speaking, that the United Kingdom were involved to some degree in hosting the event for the fifth time, given at least a few of the games would be staged north of the border. This projects a very poor image to the international community. Is rugby still in its crib? Has it failed to sever the umbilical cord and move away from its original birth place? Is it just another tin-pot code with a limited international following, or is it a genuine global sport that can rotate its showpiece event around the continents?
    France, meanwhile, hosted the World Cup as recently as eight years ago, and was also a co-host in 1991 and 1999.
    That leaves Italy, to my mind the most attractive of the European bids, as it is a newcomer to the heavyweight ranks with a large number of registered players. However, World Rugby might want to go with a more established rugby playing nation for its 10th World Cup. Japan is already facing problems as it prepares to stage the 2019 event, with its new Olympic Stadium having now been removed from the venue list.
    As for South Africa, it has the biggest and best rugby-purpose stadia in the world - with the possible exception of England, which has just hosted the event for the second time. It has the second largest number of registered players (also behind England), and it is the second most successful rugby playing nation after New Zealand.
    By the time 2023 rolls around, an entire generation will have grown up since the last time the tournament was held in South Africa. This, even though the 1995 installment was one of the most successful and spectacular World Cups to date.
    So if New Zealand, Austrlalia and England can all host it twice, and France can be involved as either host or co-host on three occasions, why on earth shouldn't it return to South Africa in 2023? Why does World Rugby appear to have lost faith in the republic, having overlooked it for both 2011 and 2019?
    It's time to break the cycle. The World Cup can not continue to return to Western Europe on every second occasion. That is a myopic approach and anathema to the globalization cause. But it does need to return to the Southern Hemisphere in 2023 for what will be the first time in 12 years. Moreover, it needs to return to the African continent, one of the hotbeds of international rugby development in recent decades.
    This leads me to my final point in South Africa's favour. World Rugby officials have raised the possibility of an expanded tournament, and this is undoubtedly overdue. Again, with its vast array of rugby-purpose stadia, South Africa's credentials are unsurpassed as a potential host nation for a 24-team World Cup.
    The last - and only - increase in teams was from 16 to 20 in 1999. This appears to have been successful, judging by the improved performances of the fringe teams in New Zealand and England. 
    In fact, no centuries have been recorded since 2003, while Japan's stunning victory over the Springboks this year suggests the days of foregone conclusions is World Cup rugby may be drawing to a close.
    That said, a lot of work needs to be done in the interim if the additional teams are going to be genuinely competitive. One of the biggest obstacles to the game's global development is the stratification of its international competitions. 
    Not only are the elite championships closed-shop, but there is little interaction between the top teams and the emerging nations in between World Cups. How on earth are the up-and-comers supposed to be competitive in the big exam if they have been denied the lessons to prepare in between?
    New Zealand and Australia should be playing annual tests with the Pacific Islands and Japan, as should the Six Nations with their Eastern European neighbours. South Africa ought to engage Namibia in a 'Bledisloe Cup'-style annual trophy match, and Hong Kong and Korea should be playing in the Pacific Challenge tournament, alongside the Pacific Islands B teams and Argentina's 'Pampas,' with a possible view to future inclusion in the Pacific Nations Championship.
    In addition to this, would it not be a fairly straightforward exercise for Six Nations teams to stop in for tests against Namibia and Uruguay enroute to South Africa and Argentina, respectively - as well as the Pacific Islands while touring New Zealand or Australia?
    By the same token, how about the Southern Hemisphere teams playing Georgia, Romania or Russia on their Autumn tours to Europe? Argentina might even take on Spain or Portugal.
    If rugby is to more forward, it needs to expand its World Cup, and this can only be successful with a more integrated international rugby calendar.



  • Disagree
     
    The world cup is fine with the number of teams it has, how long do we want it to run for.
     
    Getting pumped at the hands of tier 1 nations doesn't grow rugby. Look at Italy they have been in the 6 nations for how long and have hardly progressed. Look at Argentina, they are now a real 1st tier nation who on their day could beat anyone. It wasn't their inclusion in the Rugby Championship that caused that. 
     
    Finally if South Africa want a world cup its up to them to get their ducks in a row and make a decent presentation to World Rugby. There is not some conspiracy against South African rugby to keep the World Cup away. Sometimes you just have to admit other countries had better proposals then you did.
     
    Personally I would rather see it go to Argentina. Assuming they can put together a decent proposal to use some of their football grounds.



  • Argentina didn't bid. I personally think SA had a better case than NZ in 2011 and England 2015. NZ were actually axed as co-host just 8 years before they hosted it. England has been involved in hosting - and co-hosting - it before. I have no doubt Ireland, if awarded the event, would ship some of the games to Britain. They're promised a single-nation tournament, but we've heard that before, and Ireland is just too small. Of course, once they secure the event (supposing they do), there will be nothing anybody can do to stop them doing an about-face. No doubt Wales would end up playing its World Cup games at home yet again.
     
    Re expansion: A 24 team tournament could actually be played in a shorter time-frame than a 20-team format. That is because 4-team groups can be completed in just over a week with 3 simultaneous rounds. 5-team groups require 4 rounds with unequal scheduling, and require almost 3 weeks to complete. So, even with the extra round of sudden death games, a 24-team tournament would be quicker. It would also entail just 4 more games, 52 instead of 48. I also had my concerns in 99 when the event was expanded from 16 to 20, but one of the beneficiaries was Georgia, & just look at how they've come along - nearly beating Ireland in 2007 and picking up 2 wins last year.



  • I'd agree that it ought not to go to Europe unless Italy can put together a decent proposal. The UK and France have had their bite at the cherry for now. I would be happy to see either RSA or Argentina host the thing as well. But as mooshld infers, it's not about entitlement it's about what your proposal is. Having said that good luck to our Saffer friends, I'm sure if it goes there it will be a great tournament.



  • How would a 24 team World Cup work? You need the qualifying teams to be divisible by 8.
    So 8 groups of 3 (too short) and 3 groups of 8 (too long) are the only options. Both stink.
    Best 3rd place teams advancing like 99 is horrible.



  • Definitely agree 24 teams makes sense, and the scheduling thing is spot on, it doesn't need to be longer and its only 4 more games on top of the existing 48.
     
    IRB/WR or RWC Ltd should pass a rule that outaws co-hosting. If you country isn't big enough to host it, or keen enough on rugby to have enough stadia available, then tough bikkies you don't get it. Its the 3rd biggest sporting event in the world, not a tiddlywinks match.



  • How would a 24 team World Cup work? You need the qualifying teams to be divisible by 8.
    So 8 groups of 3 (too short) and 3 groups of 8 (too long) are the only options. Both stink.
    Best 3rd place teams advancing like 99 is horrible.

    4 groups of 6, so 5 pool games instead of 4 for each team.
    3 pairs play each round over 5 weeks. Versus the current system where 2 pairs play each round/week, and one has a bye = still takes 5 weeks.



  • Disagree
     
    The world cup is fine with the number of teams it has, how long do we want it to run for.
     
    Getting pumped at the hands of tier 1 nations doesn't grow rugby. Look at Italy they have been in the 6 nations for how long and have hardly progressed. Look at Argentina, they are now a real 1st tier nation who on their day could beat anyone. It wasn't their inclusion in the Rugby Championship that caused that. 
     
    Finally if South Africa want a world cup its up to them to get their ducks in a row and make a decent presentation to World Rugby. There is not some conspiracy against South African rugby to keep the World Cup away. Sometimes you just have to admit other countries had better proposals then you did.
     
    Personally I would rather see it go to Argentina. Assuming they can put together a decent proposal to use some of their football grounds.

    No offence but you're a crazy person if you don't think playing top tier teams on a consistent basis is a huge help for any team, even Italy. The idea that teams are just going to magically become world beaters in complete isolation is laughable. Argentina started their progression into where they're at now by getting their players into European domestic competitions and giving them a taste of top flight rugby and they've come on leaps and bounds since being included in the Rugby Championship, getting their first ever win against SA just last year.
     
    Increasing the number to 24 teams increases the length of the tournament a whooping ONE week, while getting rid of the bullshit midweek short turnaround games. It'd be worth it even without increasing the number of teams.
     
    Also, did you watch the 2015 RWC? I can't remember that many pumpings.

    How would a 24 team World Cup work? You need the qualifying teams to be divisible by 8.
    So 8 groups of 3 (too short) and 3 groups of 8 (too long) are the only options. Both stink.
    Best 3rd place teams advancing like 99 is horrible.

    Should've really worked on your maths there 😉
     
    2x12 = 24
    3x8 = 24
    4x6 = 24
     
    Anyway, good premise. I'd like to see it expanded to 24 teams but as for hosting, I'd be fine with Italy, SA or Argentina hosting the next couple of RWCs, so long as their proposals were quality. I wouldn't mind Ireland hosting one solo, just make it a bit further down the line. It's ridiculous how many tournaments have been hosted in that part of the world.



  • Rowan, your "2023 SA World Cup" bid got shot to pieces by anyone and everyone on the T2 Forum last weekend so you've turned to a Kiwi-centric rugby message board in the hope to find some anti-European allies.
     
    You are quite bizarre.



  • I have no particular issue with SA having another tournament.
     
    I do find the logic in the original post odd though. Questioning whether Rugby has cut the umbilical cord but then pumping for a well established rugby country.
     
    If you applied the arguments correctly you would be promoting Argentina.



  • No offence but you're a crazy person if you don't think playing top tier teams on a consistent basis is a huge help for any team, even Italy. The idea that teams are just going to magically become world beaters in complete isolation is laughable. Argentina started their progression into where they're at now by getting their players into European domestic competitions and giving them a taste of top flight rugby and they've come on leaps and bounds since being included in the Rugby Championship, getting their first ever win against SA just last year.
     
    Increasing the number to 24 teams increases the length of the tournament a whooping ONE week, while getting rid of the bullshit midweek short turnaround games. It'd be worth it even without increasing the number of teams.
     
    Also, did you watch the 2015 RWC? I can't remember that many pumpings.
     
     
     
    Should've really worked on your maths there 😉
     
    2x12 = 24
    3x8 = 24
    4x6 = 24
     
    Anyway, good premise. I'd like to see it expanded to 24 teams but as for hosting, I'd be fine with Italy, SA or Argentina hosting the next couple of RWCs, so long as their proposals were quality. I wouldn't mind Ireland hosting one solo, just make it a bit further down the line. It's ridiculous how many tournaments have been hosted in that part of the world.

    All of which would result in a protracted group stage and tournament. No, the 24-team should replicate the 1986 - 1994 FIFA World Cup model, with 6 groups of 4 teams. That transfers the emphasis to the knock-out stages, which would obviously include another round - 'Octavos,' in Spanish. What this means is that 4 of the 3rd-placed teams in the group stages would also progress. Too easy, you say? Maybe for the All Blacks & Springboks, but what a marvellous opportunity this would be for the likes of Japan & Georgia! In fact, this is precisely the format which brought the African teams through. Morocco became the first team from that continent ever to reach the knock-out stages of the FIFA World Cup in 1986, and was followed by Cameroon in 1990 (who made the quarters and, very nearly, reached the semis too) and Nigeria in 1994 (who destroyed two of the teams in their group on debut). Could a 24-team RWC lead to a similar 'revolution' in rugby?



  • Thank you Mr Oregan Hoskins.
    Wouldn't object to SA, Ireland or Italy hosting 2023. France is too soon. Would like to see Argentina and Canada put their hands up for a shot in the future (maybe a combined North American bid?).
    Not a fan of a 24 team tournament.



  • "Should it go to Ireland, that would also mean, technically-speaking, that the United Kingdom were involved to some degree in hosting the event for the fifth time, given at least a few of the games would be staged north of the border."
     
    I read this and said to myself....... okay be patient.  
     
    Then I read this: "I have no doubt Ireland, if awarded the event, would ship some of the games to Britain. They're promised a single-nation tournament, but we've heard that before, and Ireland is just too small. Of course, once they secure the event (supposing they do), there will be nothing anybody can do to stop them doing an about-face."
     
    Why would you have no doubt that Ireland would ship some of the games to Britain?
     
    They've promised a single-nation tournament?   No, they've promised an all-island, dual nation tournament, given that the rugby structure is based on an all-island basis.  
     
    Ireland is just too small?  For what?   Landing planes?



  • If those are the countries that have bidded, then I'd prefer South Africa to host it



  • "Should it go to Ireland, that would also mean, technically-speaking, that the United Kingdom were involved to some degree in hosting the event for the fifth time, given at least a few of the games would be staged north of the border."
     
    I read this and said to myself....... okay be patient.  
     
    Then I read this: "I have no doubt Ireland, if awarded the event, would ship some of the games to Britain. They're promised a single-nation tournament, but we've heard that before, and Ireland is just too small. Of course, once they secure the event (supposing they do), there will be nothing anybody can do to stop them doing an about-face."
     
    Why would you have no doubt that Ireland would ship some of the games to Britain?
     
    They've promised a single-nation tournament?   No, they've promised an all-island, dual nation tournament, given that the rugby structure is based on an all-island basis.  
     
    Ireland is just too small?  For what?   Landing planes?

    beating New Zealand
     
    I would really like someone new to get it, preferably Argentina, but Italy would be good too. But if SA can put together a decent bid, then no reason they shouldn't hold another one. 
     
    I actually wouldn't care if they kept the 20-team format for a while yet. I would prefer they made more of a 2nd tier comp for the other emerging nations to play in, with the winner getting a guaranteed spot in the main cup.



  • Argentina didn't bid. I personally think SA had a better case than NZ in 2011 and England 2015. NZ were actually axed as co-host just 8 years before they hosted it. England has been involved in hosting - and co-hosting - it before. I have no doubt Ireland, if awarded the event, would ship some of the games to Britain. They're promised a single-nation tournament, but we've heard that before, and Ireland is just too small. Of course, once they secure the event (supposing they do), there will be nothing anybody can do to stop them doing an about-face. No doubt Wales would end up playing its World Cup games at home yet again.
     
    Re expansion: A 24 team tournament could actually be played in a shorter time-frame than a 20-team format. That is because 4-team groups can be completed in just over a week with 3 simultaneous rounds. 5-team groups require 4 rounds with unequal scheduling, and require almost 3 weeks to complete. So, even with the extra round of sudden death games, a 24-team tournament would be quicker. It would also entail just 4 more games, 52 instead of 48. I also had my concerns in 99 when the event was expanded from 16 to 20, but one of the beneficiaries was Georgia, & just look at how they've come along - nearly beating Ireland in 2007 and picking up 2 wins last year.

    I'm not sure how you came to that conclusion but in an interview Jock Hobbs talked about the South African bid and he said said their presentation and plan was so amateurish he felt embarrassed for them.



  • Rowan, your "2023 SA World Cup" bid got shot to pieces by anyone and everyone on the T2 Forum last weekend so you've turned to a Kiwi-centric rugby message board in the hope to find some anti-European allies.
     
    You are quite bizarre.

    I just read this thread, his posts reminded me of someone formerly of Levin.



  • I just read this thread, his posts reminded me of someone formerly of Levin.

    Carlos Spencer is a ferner?



  • Carlos Spencer is a ferner?

    No, unfortunately. 
     
    A man with a penchant for sewing machines  .



  • No, unfortunately. 
     
    A man with a penchant for sewing machines  .

    You've lost me


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