20 Jan 2012

World cup organisers promise fairer deal for smaller countries

9:00 am on 20 January 2012

Rugby World Cup organisers have promised a fairer deal for the smaller countries at the 2015 tournament in England following the widespread condemnation of the unbalanced playing schedule last year in New Zealand.

Managing Director of Rugby World Cup Ltd and CEO of the IRB Mike Miller says the match schedule of the 2011 tournament had been an improvement on previous editions but accepts its still been tough on many smaller countries.

While the major playing nations generally had a week between matches, the likes of Samoa, Canada, Namibia, Georgia and the United States often had only three or four days, while Japan were forced to play three times in 11 days.

Miller says RWC Limited know the match schedule is an issue but that has to be balanced with what works for all the teams, the fans, the broadcasters and our commercial partners because they need to use to World Cup to maximise exposure and revenue to help grow the game around the world.

Miller warns a fairer schedule may mean less money to invest in lesser ranked nations between cups.

He adds Fiji, Samoa and Tonga were more competitive in the last two World Cups because of the money invested in them.