There aren’t many ways to improve our beloved sport of rugby during the World Cup. I could only think of five. Feel free to let me know your own suggested ‘improvements’.
1) Post selection draft
This would allow players who miss out with one country to go and play for another. Countries would only be allowed to add one player (taking squads to 32) and the first pick would go to the lowest ranked country in the competition. This would allow the following type of additions to squads –
- Romania take Israel Dagg
- Japan select Richard Hibbard
- USA snap up Danny Cipriani
- England add James Horwill to the pack
- And the All Blacks try and draft in referee Wayne Barnes but the move gets vetoed by World Rugby
2) Enter the Barbarians
If the draft isn’t going to take place, maybe the Barbarians should get a chance to put together a side? Picking a group of players not wanted by their respective countries, they would play the worst second placed side from the groups (the one who has scored the least amount of tries). For instance, Scotland qualify from their group but only score one try in total and therefore have to play the famous black and white invitational side. Should the Baa-Baas win, they take their position in the quarters! The whole competition would be widened by three days to make room for this extra game. Tickets would be £5 each and all hospitality would go to people nominated by the rugby public (those who work tirelessly and often for free for junior clubs).
3) Scrum Delay MMA
Every time a scrum fails to complete, two rugby legends will climb into a ring just behind the dead ball line and start cage-fighting. What better spectacle could there be to fill the time wasted resetting a scrum than watching Zinzan Brooke leather Austin Healey? Yes, of course, you are right; Sebastian Chabal versus Gavin Henson!
4) TMO buzzer
Once in every game, when a TMO is invited to adjudge a try scoring opportunity, the defence’s team captain can elect to ‘Play the Buzzer’. Once the ref draws his ‘square in the air’, the captain signifies his decision by tapping the top of his head. A big red button is wheeled out and the ground’s big screen will scroll very quickly through the following options –
- Try with guaranteed conversion
- No try – scrum five attack
- No try – scrum five defence
- No try – 22 drop out
- No try – penalty to defence on half way, attacking side must play next five minutes without a scrum half.
It is down to the skipper (or elected button presser – this could be someone from the crowd) to try and stop the screen and get the desired decision!
5) Coaches to earn bonus points
At a chosen time during the group stages, coaches can play their RWC coach’s bonus card. In doing so, they challenge another coach (of their choice) to one of following challenges –
- Beer pong
- ‘Pugil sticks’ from ITV’s Gladiators
- Down a yard of ale
- Tit cricket
All challenges would be broadcast live on telly and at stake is a ‘try bonus point’ to add to their group total. Who wouldn’t want to see Warren Gatland and Michael Cheika try and knock each other off their perch? What about Joe Schmidt attempting three feet of the black stuff? And I know there would be lots of gents tuning in to see Stuart Lancaster nudging singles in the packed Cabbage Patch Pub of Twickenham.
Actually, on reflection, it’s probably best I’m not in charge of RWC 2015. I think things would start to go downhill quite quickly.
Sam Roberts © 2015. (Text only). All Rights Reserved.