Future World Cup draws will be fairer to smaller nations, eliminating the scheduling disparity highlighted at the 2011 tournament in New Zealand, International Rugby Board chief executive Brett Gosper said yesterday.
Gosper told reporters in Wellington that rugby’s Tier One or major nations will have to accept more rigorous schedules at the 2015 World Cup in England to ensure all teams competed on even terms.
Minor rugby nations complained after the 2011 World Cup that they faced more taxing schedules than their larger rivals. Samoa played four pool matches in 16 days and Japan played their group games in 17 days while New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa enjoyed at least a week’s respite between matches.
“We think in the next World Cup schedule that will be announced very soon there is a very strong fairness in terms of the times of rest periods. It will be the same for all teams. Completely equal,” Gosper said. “There’s a very strong fairness in terms of the times of rest periods. So it’ll be the same for all teams, far more equal. Completely equal versus the last World Cup.”
The 2015 World Cup will be played between 18 September and 31 October, suggesting most teams will have between four and five days between pool matches.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said he accepted future World Cup schedules had to be fairer to all teams. “We asked for it after the (last) World Cup,” Tew said. “We thought it was unjust that the smaller unions were asked to play at the pinnacle event on shorter times than our games.”