Charron in plea for Cup no-hopers

By PAUL MORGAN

Last updated at 09:23 09 September 2007


Canada rugby legend Al Charron has

urged the International Rugby Board not to

change the World Cup.

The IRB have discussed cutting the

number of teams for the next tournament in

2011 from 20 to 16, to eliminate one-sided

matches and shorten the event.

With the top three teams from each group

this time qualifying for 2011, the last four

places would be decided in a new world

trophy competition in 2010.

But Charron, who played in four World

Cups and is now a member of Canada's

management team, fears a reduction in

teams will stunt the growth of the game in

developing rugby

countries.

Charron believes

the second tier

nations are starting

to benefit from the

IRB funding

programmes in

places such as North

America and the

Pacific Islands and

he is anxious not to

see all that hard

work undone by

limiting opportunities to play on the biggest

stage.

"We need to leave the programme as it is,

certainly for New Zealand and maybe the

one after that," said Charron.

"I think it will need at least four years,

maybe eight years, for the developing

nations to really benefit from the money the

IRB have given out.

"The IRB have done great things to globalise

rugby since 1999 and there is still a chance

countries like Samoa, Fiji and hopefully

Canada can make an impression here.

"But if we really want that to go on then

the World Cup should remain in the format

that it is."

The qualification system means the

pressure is on Canada to perform well in

this World Cup, where they have targeted a

place in the quarter-finals, to ensure they

make it to the next one.

"There is a lot riding on us and there is

pressure," said Charron.

"Two wins will guarantee us a place at the

next World Cup."

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now