In the second of a series of articles following on from his previous piece here, Francisco Issac explores the changing role of World Rugby and its responsibilities to safeguard the integrity of the sport in the wake of the recent Rugby Europe chaos.
It has been mooted recently that perhaps it is time for the sport’s governing body to take a look at the role it plays, in overseeing the game. The conversation has been escalated with the recent malaise in the Belgium v Spain RWC qualifier, the administration by Rugby Europe and the part that World Rugby plays.
Maybe it’s time for World Rugby to stop being just a marketing and promoting entity of Rugby Union. In the bigger conversation, perhaps it is time for World Rugby to start doing some work ‘alongside’ the Unions. In really helping Tier2 (T2) and Tier3 (T3) nations to grow, not just selling the idea that any nation can become a top contender.
World Rugby to make an effort for the game’s sake
In the second decade of this century, World Rugby has both some thrilling and worrying challenges ahead if it wants to keep growing. If it wants to be reaching everyone interested in rugby, and pushing through to become one of the most played sports on the globe.
On one hand; it has to deal with the new health issues (of both body and mind) of players. It is rightly looking to strengthen Rugby Players Welfare to ensure a safe but fun game. Safer, but to still retain its original design.
One with tackles, breakdowns & controlled aggression (which might see the occasional skirmish, but not encourage brutality). A game where fans still see super tries and with equally opposed, physically grueling but amazing scrummages and rucks.
On the other hand; Rugby Europe and World Rugby have to deal with the complexity of the business. The operations, budgets and development programmes and the ‘role of World Rugby to oversee’ the sport.
World Rugby has to juggle both ‘Pro and Amateur Rugby’
Trying to juggle between the all-pro show and the amateur landscape that most nations live in. This requires better referees, good administrative boards, excellent coaches and a strong International support structure.
The Get into Rugby Programme is one stage. Many more steps are available for existing, and new unions. That is run by the major body, but what role has Rugby Europe recently played? Is that Continental body well prepared and managed, so that all efforts are congruent – across all age groups, and all competition; especially when it reaches the important ‘RWC qualifying stages’.
The juggle is administer both the ‘professional game/nations’ up to the base ‘amateur levels’. World Rugby has the core duty to promote all nations to compete, from the weakest or newest members of the global sport.
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— Neha Pardeshi (@neha_rugger) March 24, 2018
All of these challenges have to be dealt with quickly and at an accelerated pace. It requires World Rugby to answer issues raised recently, particularly with Rugby Europe, immediately. Whenever there’s a new problem or a difficult situation, the body must be free and able to intercede. This is part of their task. To act, for the games sake.
Note: World Rugby have incorporated an investigation into the chaos that erupted, post BELvSPA, as well as the eligibility issue.
This is what the fans, players, managers, administrators demand from the entity that governs the game of Rugby Union. It must ensure that the chaos seen on the field after the Belgium v Spain match never occurs again. For the betterment of the game, and of the future of organisations like Rugby Europe.
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