Sir Clive Woodward says northern-hemisphere teams are ready to dominate Test rugby and believes the 2023 World Cup semi-final lineup will be made up of Six Nations sides only.
The four big southern-hemisphere nations – Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa – were all on the losing end against northern-hemisphere opposition this past weekend.
England narrowly beat the Springboks 27-26 in London, Wales clinched a controversial 29-28 win over the 14-man Wallabies in Cardiff, France hammered the All Blacks in Paris and Ireland thrashed Los Pumas 53-7 in Dublin.
It was the first time South Africa, New Zealand and Australia had lost to Six Nations opposition on the same weekend since November 2002 and also the first time all four Rugby Championship teams lost to European opposition on the same weekend since Argentina’s inclusion in the competition.
The latest set of results has sparked positive reviews from the European media, with Woodward adding his voice to the choir saying it was “a wonderful boost for our game”.
“Rugby World Cup 2023 is going to be incredible but first we have got two Six Nations to savour. I want to first look at the resurgence going on in the northern hemisphere” Woodward wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“It is a long overdue development and vital because the Six Nations is the foundation of our international game,” he added.
“The south have been bossing the Test arena and World Cups for too long, to the extent that they provided all four World Cup semi-finalists in 2015.”
Woodward, who won the 2003 World Cup as England coach, added that he felt it was realistic for Six Nations teams to also dominate future World Cups.
“The Six Nations must be as strong, vibrant and competitive as possible. Not just a fantastic day out, the rugby must be as good as any on the planet and that should certainly be the case in a few weeks.
“I dream of a day when the Six Nations provides three or who knows maybe all four semi-finalists at a World Cup. Why not? It can happen.”