IRB promises minnows a fair shake

Mon, 22 Apr 2013 08:58
Large brett gosper Large brett gosper   steve tew Large brett gosper2

The IRB has revamped the 2015 World Cup schedule to stop giving top nations an unfair advantage by allowing them a week's rest between games.

The International Rugby Board said Monday it has revamped the 2015 World Cup match schedule to stop giving top nations an unfair advantage by allowing them a week's rest between games.

IRB Chief Executive Brett Gosper also said he had moved to clamp down on clubs preventing players from smaller nations attending the tournament, although he admitted it was a difficult problem to solve.

Small nations complained bitterly during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand that the timetable was skewed towards the game's traditional superpowers because their matches were scheduled at the weekends to maximise television audiences.

This gave them six or seven days to recover, while the less high-profile sides often had to play midweek and weekend matches, giving them as little as three days between matches, before a longer break.

Gosper said the timetable for the 2015 tournament in England, due to be released in late April or early May, had been altered to fix the problem.

"There's very strong fairness in terms of rest periods and so on. It will be the same for all teams," he told reporters. "It will be far more equal compared to the last World Cup."

New Zealand Rugby Union Chief Executive Steve Tew backed the move, saying it was a question of fairness.

"We asked for it," he said.

"We thought that it was unjust that the small unions were asked to play a critical event with shorter [rest] times than our games, so tier one nations made that request at the end of the last World Cup."

Gosper said the IRB was also working to address concerns raised by smaller nations, particularly in the Pacific, about European clubs preventing their players from participating in world cup tournaments.

He said the IRB recently held a meeting on the issue, attended by representatives from the English and French leagues, and warned clubs they were obliged to release players and could face sanctions if they refused to do so.

But the IRB chief admitted it was a difficult issue to enforce, despite assurances from the clubs that they would abide by the regulations and not hold back players from international duties.

"It's a bit like tax-dodging, there are always going to be around-the-fringes issues," he said.

"Maybe things will happen behind our backs that we can't quite control. All we can do is make sure that the intentions behind regulation nine are imposed as best as they possibly can be and made as robust as possible."

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
WORLD CUP
MORE LOGS
Pool A
Team P W D L Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 17
Wales 4 3 0 1 13
England 4 2 0 2 11
Fiji 4 1 0 3 5
Uruguay 4 0 0 4 0
Pool B
Team P W D L Pts
South Africa 4 3 0 1 16
Scotland 4 3 0 1 14
Japan 4 3 0 1 12
Samoa 4 1 0 3 6
United States 4 0 0 4 0
Pool C
Team P W D L Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 19
Argentina 4 3 0 1 15
Georgia 4 2 0 2 8
Tonga 4 1 0 3 6
Namibia 4 0 0 4 1
Pool D
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 18
France 4 3 0 1 14
Italy 4 2 0 2 10
Romania 4 1 0 3 4
Canada 4 0 0 4 2