Former England coach Clive Woodward has called for the inclusion of Japan and the Pacific Nations in the Rugby Championship after the World Cup.
Japan qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in their history following their victory over Scotland on the weekend, progressing with four wins out of four from Pool A. By so doing, Japan also became the first Asian nation to progress to the playoffs of the World Cup.
In a column for the New Zealand Herald, Woodward has argued for the inclusion of Japan, Samoa, Fiji and Tonga in the Rugby Championship, in order to ensure the nations kick on from their impressive World Cup performances.
‘The Six Nations and the Rugby Championship want to perpetuate the status quo,’ Woodward wrote. ‘They don’t want anybody else joining unless they increase the profitability of that club. That has to change.
‘There is a better way — and it is promotion and relegation.
‘Division One would start off as New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and South Africa, but one of those should be relegated every year to be replaced by the winner of a feeder tournament that would consist initially of Japan, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa.’
Woodward also thinks consideration should be given to including Georgia and Russia, as well as Spain and Romania, in a revamped Six Nations.
‘Rugby must treat all nations equally,’ he added. ‘They must have an equal opportunity on the pitch and equal votes off the pitch. Their voice must carry equal weight and not be drowned out by the old boys’ club carving up the game.’
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