The only place to watch the race for the title live
Watch highlights from every Football League match
Follow the latest from the written press with the best gossip and speculation from the papers.
Soccer Saturday's Jeff Stelling provides his predictions on each featured Super 6 game this week.
David Moyes could be in for a mixed reception when he returns to Goodison, writes Vinny O'Connor.
Luis Suarez has 11 goals in his last four games against Norwich. Can he improve that total?
Listen to Neil Reynolds and Jeff Reinebold's latest podcast as they discuss the state of the NFC West.
Stuart Barnes reveals his World Cup frustrations and explains how he would alter future tournaments.Back to story
Mr Barnes, I reckon this suggestion is brilliant! When I read the two pool ideas I was excited by it. There would be many more tough (and interesting games). Second tier games midweek would be better too- personally I never enjoyed any game that involved the top nations against the 'minnows' (in fact I never made it to 80 minutes before turning the channel over). However Canada vs Japan/Tonga proved good to watch. I would like to see RWC15 take up this, or a very similiar format - otherwise I fear it made be hard to find a pool game worth going to! It won't happen though- as per usual, the decision makers at the top are a bit rubbish!
Posted 10:16 3rd November 2011
Bad idea, teams only get better by playing better teams and this does not happen between world cups often enough. Canada played it's best team every game. Your idea keeps the samller unions down forever. As far as automatic qualifying for the top 3 in each pool that too is ridiculous. Go back to the system in 1995, the top three in the tournament plus the host qualify. This give the smaller unions games against top sides between cups and also meaningful games. A lot of Canadian fans were upset about France losing to Tonga because it meant we have to qualify for the next cup. To me this is a positive because it gives us meaningful games between cups, which are few and far between for us now. If we can't beat USA to qualify we don't deserve to be there anyways. They are really bad and if we can't beat them we might as quit. Can't cut back to 16 or 12, it would hurt rugby in tier 2 and tier 3 countries, not help us but because of the governace of the IRB teams like Scotland will protect themselves before doing what is good for World Rugby. If some countries are going to move up then some have to move down and the foundation members aren't going to let it be them.
Posted 00:36 3rd November 2011
Am I right? are these statistics telling us anything? Wales played 7 won 4 lost 3* England played 5 won 4 lost 1* Ireland Played 5 won 4 lost 1 *both lost to the team that very nrearly won the tournament1 Did I miss something or is it just the media's usual delight at a failng England team.
Posted 11:16 1st November 2011
I Think a more simple solution is there to be had, the top2 teams of each group go through to play for the Webb Ellis(same as it stands now), and 3rd/4th placed teams drop down into another phase of knock-out rugby, Winners of the Losers so to speak.
Posted 20:51 31st October 2011
A decent idea. Here's an alternative suggestion that could easily be incorporated - have a "plate" competition between the teams that come third in the group. This would give all teams in the group something to aim at. And get rid of the third/fourth play-off; just award two "bronze" medals like they do in boxing.
Posted 18:42 31st October 2011
interesting format stuart but for it to be a real possibility i would think they would have to increase the squad size if going by your format! the group games alone are daunting in themselves & will surely stretch most squads to the limit & who knows what will be left in the tank come knockout time!! nevertheless i think it could work & definitely worth pondering about.....heres hoping!!
Posted 18:38 31st October 2011
I have to say I disagree Stuart. I think a lot of the reason why the so-called smaller nations enjoy going to World Cups is to play against the best. Seeing the emotion of the Georgian players when they played England or when Portugal played NZ is as much what the World Cup is about than the final. If you turned around and said 'you can't play with us elite players' the smaller nations would feel, quite rightly, severely patronised and rugby in those nations would take a huge hit, as there is no realistic possibility of playing an 'elite' nation every four years. I'm afraid your idea for a World Cup, Stuart, would limit the game whilst it has done such a good job in expanding over the past seven or eight years.
Posted 13:48 31st October 2011
A fairly good idea. But why couldn't we add another game at the start of the tournament and have seeded teams play non seeded teams. (Team ranked 1st play team ranked 24th, 2nd v 23rd.....etc) Winners to the top tier. Losers to the bottom tier. That way at the start of the tournament, every single team entering has a shot at the grand prize! And there may even be a surprise where a France or an England may end up in the bottom tier!
Posted 13:43 31st October 2011
One reason that tier 2 nations rested players agains the big teams was because they had 2 games in 3/4 days. They had to prioritize. Reduce each group to 4 teams (losing the likes of russia/namibia who were not at all competitive). This would result in all teams in each group playing on the same days - no advantage to the big boys and less examples of the minnows fielding their reserves and getting completely stuffed. This would also continue to give teams such as Japan/georia/canada etc. the chance to play against the big nations, which is good for the game - and frankly what they deserve after some cracking performances in the last 2 world cups. Then introduce a 'plate competition' for a further 8 teams - This should be in 2 groups of 4. The top 2 from each group going into the plate quarter finals with the 3rd teams from each of the main groups. This would give the tiny teams that chance to play a relatively big side, and would also give Scotland the chance of actually winning something - everyones a winner!
Posted 13:02 31st October 2011
Five games in five weeks against that standard opponents, then followed by semi-finals and finals is a bit tough for any squad. For example, New Zealand lost 3 outside halves but if the RWC had been in the NH then time zone issues would have meant that it wouldn't have been quite so easy for them to get ready to play replacements.
Posted 11:30 31st October 2011
Surely the reason that the tier 2 nations were playing their second teams against the top nations was because they were given games every 3 days? Why not just reduce the groups to 4 teams - then every team from each group will play on the same day. This would also result in some of the weakest teams (such as namibia and russia) dropping out of the main tournament. The likes of Georgia and Japan would still be given the chance to compete with the best - which is surely good for world rugby and something that these nations deserve judging by past performances. Add a second tier competition of 8 teams (2 groups of 4) - the winners and runners up go on to play the teams that finish 3rd in each group from the main competition in a 'plate' quarter final (Then Scotland might be able to win something)
Posted 09:43 31st October 2011