Making up the numbers
Re: Australia edges England 6-0 in brutal World Cup final
I’ve ridiculed the RLWC as a mickey mouse tournament involving manufactured teams, which it is, but rugby’s is not exactly a paragon of fair and competitive sporting activity either.
The same 4 nations have now hosted 7/8 tournaments (with Britain getting 3, if we’re honest about it), and that will become 8/10 in 2023.
Meanwhile, elite competitions and excessive scheduling among the tier 1 nations themselves have created a premier division with which no one else can really hope to compete under these circumstances. Therefore about half the teams at the World Cup are showing up regularly just to serve as cannon fodder for the big guns.
Sure, there is the rare upset - about one per 48-game tournament, on average (involving tier 1 & 2 opponents)!
So undoubtedly half the teams are only there to make up the numbers.
It is true that rugby has done a great deal to spread the game around the world. But the sport has clearly failed to integrate its top flight with the masses, and it is this attitude which deprives its showpiece event of legitimacy.