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EDITORIAL: Champions Decided In Four Years, Rugby Ranking Matters Less At RWC

Then the Rugby World Cup was incepted in 1987 and all of a sudden, international rugby had become a four-year cycle. The three years between RWC’s is now little more
24 May 2015 09:29
EDITORIAL: Champions Decided In Four Years, Rugby Ranking Matters Less At RWC
The next test match was what mattered most to players, fans and officials in the past

Then the Rugby World Cup was incepted in 1987 and all of a sudden, international rugby had become a four-year cycle.

The three years between RWC’s is now little more than a period of trial matches where nations do their best to ensure that in one 80-minute period, everything fits into place and the winner eventually crowned world champions.

Doesn’t matter what country you come from, that’s the thinking.

For the Flying Fijians, classified as a Tier Two rugby nation and ranked in the Top 10 on many occasions, it’s has been a continuing struggle for the past 28 years.

We’ve reached the quarterfinals on two occasions (1987, 2007) and that was our best effort.

To go beyond our best is achievable or we could wait for another 28 years to be realistic.

But nothing is impossible and we still have to be optimistic when we take on England at Twickenham in the opening match of the 2015 RWC on September 19.

We have qualified for the four-yearly event; we are in tournament and we can win.

We’re not alone in this quest for the William Webb Ellis Trophy.

It’s also proving to be a long 28 years for France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, classified as Tier One nations and ranked in the Top Eight on many occasions.

England had one moment of joy, but that was 12 years ago, compliment of a copybook drop goal from Jonny Wilkinson in sudden death in Sydney.

And while the New Zealanders have clearly been the best team in the world for the majority of the past, it took 24 years for the William Webb Ellis trophy to come revisiting in 2011.

The reality of world rugby now is that there is a team who is clearly the Number One.

They are called the All Blacks, and then the teams occupying second to eighth on the world rankings are South Africa (2), Ireland (3), England (4), Wales (5), Australia (6), France (7), Argentina (8).

It’s understandable the need to rank teams for the purpose of tournament qualification.

But when rugby pundits start to interpret 12th- placed Fiji having no chance against 5th-placed Wales or the 6th-placed Wallabies and the 7th-placed France as having no hope because of where they lie in the numbers game, is beyond comprehension.

The unfortunate thing for the Flying Fijians is they are grouped in a ‘Pool of Death’ with England, Australia, Wales and Uruguay.

Only two of those four teams can advance.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika recently said they could win even when they were currently ranked 6th.

“It’s a moot point because we’re in it.

“So can Japan and so can Uruguay or Fiji or anyone, and what rankings are they?”

It sounds he’s not too concerned about the rankings.

The Flying Fijians should not be too concerned about the rankings in September.

It is of little importance. What matters is getting the job done right and proper on the day.

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 




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