“We are trying to strike a balance between quality of play and ticket sales, and emmigration. If we let in Argentina or Tonga, the risk of a domestic team losing a match is simply too high right now. New Zealanders will not spend $200 to watch these amateurs defeat what’s left of our national side players. On the other hand, if we send our teams to the US, most of them will probably score lucrative contracts and not return. Samoa strikes the balance: the rugby is good, but not great, and who wants to move to Samoa? Have you been to Samoa?”
“I am now in a position to affect rugby in a much larger capacity than I ever could as a national team coach. Expanding the Pacific Nations Cup and raising the level of rugby in the so-called ‘2nd Tier’ nations is critical to the future of rugby, and I expect the locals to be grateful, very very grateful.”
As I noted earlier, this pool has all the suspense of drying paint: South Africa and England will undoubtedly advance to the Quarter Finals. The only question remains as to which team edges out the other when the two rugby powerhouses meet on September 14th in Paris.