Opinion

EDITORIAL: 2019 Rugby World Cup :Ample Time To Prepare, Keep Rugby Alive, Avoid All Blackout

Last Wednesday, September 20, marked exactly two years until the start of the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in Japan. This means there is ample time for rugby nations to
24 Sep 2017 10:17
EDITORIAL: 2019 Rugby World Cup :Ample Time To Prepare, Keep Rugby Alive, Avoid All Blackout

Last Wednesday, September 20, marked exactly two years until the start of the 2019 Rugby World Cup (RWC) in Japan.

This means there is ample time for rugby nations to prepare for the festival of rugby, which will run from September 20 to November 2.

The 20 participating nations – including Fiji – need to be ready, compete and try to surpass the success of the 2015 RWC in the United Kingdom. But if the current trend is anything to go by, there is only one country that will win the William Webb Ellis Trophy – New Zealand.

Simply put, rugby nations need to find another gear to keep the game alive in the four-yearly spectacle. It will be embarrassing for the sport if the one-dimensional domination continues leading up to Tokyo 2019.

The All Blacks need to be challenged and beaten in a meaningful contest for the wider good of rugby. Since the tournament started in 1987, the top 10 nations were favourite to win the silverware. But after eight RWCs, only four nations have won the coveted prize –New Zealand (1987, 2011, 2015), Australia (1991, 1999), South Africa (1995, 2007) and England (2003).

Building up to the ninth RWC, the rugby nations need to up the ante to make the event a joy and spectacle to look forward. Otherwise it will be another black day for others and another routine win and victory parade for the All Blacks.   

Coaches always prepare a team to win and mentor that everything is possible. This means that the dominant All Blacks are beatable. It rang true when Ireland beat the All Blacks for the first time ever in Soldier Field, Chicago, in November 2016.

The British and Irish Lions proved that the Steve Hansen-coached side are not immortals securing an absorbing 1-1 series draw in June. While the losses have provided hope and confidence for others, it has made the All Blacks better and stronger.

Australia, Argentina and South Africa face the wrath of the All Blacks during the Rugby Championship. The All Blacks smashed the Wallabies 54 -34 and 35-29. Argentina put up a brave fight in New Plymouth, only to go down 39-22.

After 3-0 whitewash over France, the Springboks were humiliated 57-0 in a telling statement that the Kiwis were a class apart.

For the first time the Springboks have been drawn in the same pool with the All Blacks at the 2019 RWC. The writing is on the wall as the team to beat building up to the 2019 RWC.

Teams have ample time to prepare to make the global showpiece in Tokyo a befitting spectacle. The All Blacks have set the bar and the onus is on 20 nations – including Fiji – to live up to expectations and keep the game alive.

Rugby World Cup 2019 pools:

Pool A: Ireland, Scotland, Japan, Europe 1, Playoff winner

Pool B: New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Africa 1, Repechage winner

Pool C: England, France, Argentina, United States, Tonga

Pool D: Australia, Wales, Georgia, Fiji, Americas 2.

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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