To borrow and paraphrase from a certain poet/troubadour, it’s so hard to make rugby pay, when you’re on the losing end.
Yet, it is not just Australia, but also World Rugby calling for a major shuffle in the Test calendar.
The new scheme would introduce, according to AFP sources, a “league of nations,” featuring the top 12 national teams in the world.
What benefit that would supply the Wallabies is somewhat hard to quantify, except perhaps the opportunity to get fat of the spoils of playing the five squads in the top 12 currently ranked below Australia.
In descending order, that would be France, Argentina, Fiji, Japan and Tonga. As for the teams above, past history would tend to indicate that avoidance is the better policy, especially the top four, all of which are located on a tiny group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean.
World Rugby headman Brett Gosper unabashedly told a Sydney newspaper that the rejigger would have at its heart the goal of boosting revenues.
“It just makes sense and it would seem to be the time to do this and there’s a consensus and a desire to try,” Gosper told the Daily Telegraph.
A sure fire way to boost revenues would be to give U.S. citizenship to seven or eight Kiwis, which would immediately move the U.S. up from 15th into the top 12. Just those players who are not quite up to All Black selection.
World Rugby’s scheme seems simple enough.
In years without the World Cup competition, the teams would come from the Rugby Championship and the Six Nations.
Each team would play the other, with the top four advancing to an elimination phase to determine an annual champion.
The windows in July and November would be the opening for the new competition, taking the place of three-Test tours.
“The team coming south would have to play three (different) teams, but it’s making sure each game counts towards an end that is more interesting to the fans, and therefore a more viable product,” Gosper said.
The aim is to have all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed in order for a debut in 2020.