Which tier 1 nations play their part in supporting tier 2 rugby?

After a lively pool stage at the Rugby World Cup which saw teams such as Japan, Georgia and Romania bring a breath of fresh air to international rugby, the attention turns to what can we do to support these nations in the 4 year period leading up to Japan 2019.

One thing tier 1 nations can do to help these developing nations is to play fixtures against them. It sounds simple but when the statistics are analysed the figures are quite shocking as the details further down this article show.

We have looked at the fixtures between tier 1 nations (6 Nations and Rugby Championship members) and any nations outside that group, since the start of the 2005/06 northern hemisphere rugby season. It does not include fixtures in Rugby World Cups including qualifiers.

new tier 2

What do the results show us?

  • There is a huge spread between the number of games played against tier 2 nations across the major nations. On one side we have Italy who have played 20 times against tier 2 nations in the last 10 years while at the bottom of the table we have Argentina and Australia
  • Argentina and South Africa have played 1 game against tier 2 nations in the last 6 years.
  • England, Argentina and South Africa have not played a single game against a tier 2 nation on their own ground for at least 10 years.

When we look at these statistics we can start to understand why in the 25 years since the first Rugby World Cup the sport has struggled to introduce competitive new nations to join the old guard.

Of course the main driver for these trends are the desire for the top teams to play against other top teams to improve on-field peformances and more importantly, to guarantee the revenue that comes from plum fixtures against other big nations.

World Rugby needs to sit down with the tier 1 nations to break this cycle. The reality is to move the game on the tier 1 nations will have to suffer some short term losses for the longer term good of the game.

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Details

Argentina (3)

June 2013 – Georgia – San Juan

August 2007 – Chile – Buenos Aires

December 2005 – Samoa – Buenos Aires

Australia (4)

September 2015 – USA – Chicago

July 2011 – Samoa – Sydney

June 2010 – Fiji – Canberra

June 2007 – Fiji – Sydney

England (5)

November 2014 – Samoa – Twickenham

November 2012 – Fiji – Twickenham

November 2010 – Samoa – Twickenham

November 2008 – Pacific Islands – Twickenham

November 2005 – Samoa – Twickenham

France (9)

November 2014 – Fiji – Marseille

November 2013 – Tonga – Paris

November 2012 – Samoa – Paris

November 2010 – Fiji – Nantes

November 2009 – Samoa – Paris

November 2008 – Pacific Islands – Sochaux

June 2006 – Romania – Bucharest

November 2005 – Tonga – Toulouse

November 2005 – Canada – Nantes

Ireland (10)

November 2014 – Georgia – Dublin

November 2013 – Samoa – Dublin

June 2013 – Canada – Toronto (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

June 2013 – USA – Houston (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

November 2009 – Fiji – Dublin

May 2009 – USA – California (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

May 2009 – Canada – Vancouver (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

November 2008 – Canada – Limerick

November 2006 – Pacific Islands – Dublin

November 2005 – Romania – Dublin

Italy (20)

November 2014 – Samoa – Ascoli

June 2014 – Japan – Tokyo

June 2014 – Samoa – Apia

June 2014 – Fiji – Suva

November 2013 – Fiji – Cremona

June 2013 – Samoa – Nelspruit

November 2012 – Tonga – Torino

June 2012 – USA – Houston

June 2012 – Canada – Toronto

August 2011 – Japan – Cesna

November 2010 – Fiji – Modena

November 2009 – Samoa – Ascoli

November 2008 – Pacific Islands – Reggio Emilia

August 2007 – Japan – St Vincent

June 2007 – Uruguay – Montevideo

November 2006 – Canada – Fontanafredda

June 2006 – Fiji – Lautoka

June 2006 – Japan – Tokyo

November 2005 – Fiji – Monza

November 2005 – Tonga – Prato

New Zealand (6)

July 2015 – Samoa – Apia

November 2014 – USA – Chicago

November 2013 – Japan – Tokyo

July 2011 – Fiji – Dunedin

September 2008 – Samoa – New Plymouth

June 2007 – Canada – Hamilton

Scotland (13)

November 2014 – Tonga – Kilmarnock

June 2014 -Canada – Toronto

June 2014 – USA – Houston

November 2013 – Japan – Edinburgh

June 2013 – Samoa – Durban

November 2012 – Tonga – Aberdeen

June 2012 – Fiji – Lautoka

June 2012 – Samoa – Apia

November 2010 – Samoa – Aberdeen

November 2009 – Fiji – Edinburgh

November 2008 – Canada – Aberdeen

November 2006 – Pacific Islands – Edinburgh

November 2005 – Samoa – Edinburgh

South Africa (3)

June 2013 – Samoa – Pretoria

June 2007 – Samoa – Johannesburg

August 2007 – Namibia – Cape Town

Wales (13)

November 2014 – Fiji – Cardiff

November 2013 – Tonga – Cardiff

June 2013 – Japan – Tokyo (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

June 2013 – Japan – Osaka (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

November 2012 – Samoa – Cardiff

November 2010 – Fiji – Cardiff

November 2009 – Samoa – Cardiff

June 2009 – USA – Chicago (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

May 2009 – Canada – Toronto (tour was at same time as British and Irish Lions tour)

November 2008 – Canada – Cardiff

November 2006 – Canada – Cardiff

November 2006 – Pacific Islands – Cardiff

November 2005 – Fiji – Cardiff

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