With European Rugby improving and Spain on the rise is Canada being left behind? Georgia feel they are now better than second tier teams like Canada and have qualified for the 2019 RWC.
Meanwhile Romania or Samoa and Canada who are 21st in the World Rankings will be the clear underdogs against either of the two higher ranked sides to qualify.
Romanian has beaten the Canucks on 4 of 6 occasions, while the Samoans have won all 6 games they have played against the North American side.
What this means is that either Romania or Samoa will be forced in the four-team World Cup Repechag with Canada While Samoa are ranked one place above Romania (16th and 17th respectively) in the World Rankings.
Meanwhile Canada have sunk to 21st in the World Rankings and on current form they will be the clear underdogs against either of the two higher ranked sides.
Romanian has beaten the Canucks on 4 of 6 occasions, while the Samoans have won all 6 games they have played against The Canadian side.
The 2018 Rugby Europe Championship, there have been groundbreaking results for Spain. They firstly ousted Russia away in Krasnodar, by a score of 20 to 13. They went one step further putting in a monumental performance to defeat Romania in Madrid. This puts them in pole position to qualify as RWC Europe 1, where they would slot into Pool A alongside Ireland, Scotland and hosts Japan. Whilst Spain’s qualification is by no means said and done, if they do qualify as Europe 1, this would lead to some hefty implications for Romania, Samoa or Canada who will definitely not be competing in the 2019 World Cup. While this may be a disaster for the people involved from these countries with a reduction in funding from World Rugby, sponsorship and games with Top Nations. Hopefully, it will act as a wake-up call to especially to Rugby Canada and World Rugby. Back in 1995, both the USA and Fiji didn’t qualify for the then 16 nation World Cup. World Rugby reacted by expanding the 1999 tournament to 20 teams.
World Rugby will have to seriously look at improving the qualifying system for developing rugby nations.
A balance has to be made: between a simple format and including a suitable number of teams so that the competition remains credible.
I feel 24 teams paves the way for 6 groups of 4 with one group to South America. This place would effectively ensure that Uruguay and Canada both qualify.
I would go for 2 to Europe with Spain and Russia have proved themselves to be just as good if not better than the lowest ranked team currently competing in the RWC and 1 more team going through the repechage. The best of the rest from each qualifying region (e.g.) Brazil, Germany, Kenya, Hong Kong) could compete in a round robin tournament with the top 2 qualifying for the RWC
Whether this will happen or not is entirely another question. But something has to be done to make rugby a truly global sport just like FIFA has achieved with Soccer (Football) worldwide and the FIFA World Cup.