LA BAULE-ESCOUBLAC, France.- The 2015 World Cup is the glory of the Rugby Championship. On European soil, in the home of the inventors of rugby, four Sanzaar teams reached the semifinals. Four years later, the Southern Hemisphere’s dominance was extended to the title achieved by the Springboks, while the All Blacks stood on the podium. In this 2023 edition, the balance is tipping towards the North. The four groups are led by the Europeans: France, Ireland, Wales and England, all close to the quarterfinals.
It is believed that European rugby could be revived in France. They have already predicted the results after the World Cup in Japan and, now, we can see how the pandemic hit the South harder than the North. While in the Sanzaar domain his gem, Super Rugby, ended and each country went its own way, Europe never stopped, keeping all the competitions and not even postponing the tour of the Lions in South Africa, in matches that They are played without an audience. .
The first strong impact caused by the pandemic was recently confirmed by the collapse of the Wallabies, who were almost eliminated for the first time in the first round of a World Cup. Due to the economic crisis that existed before the Covid, the Australian Union was left without strong competition for its franchises, which were largely defeated by the New Zealanders in that mini-tournament that they set up between the neighbors. It added a series of wrong decisions that led to the worst version in the memory of his team, two-time world champion.
So far, France have beaten the All Blacks, Ireland the Springboks, Wales the Wallabies and England the Pumas. 4-0 for the 6 Nations in the Rugby Championship. Never, for example, have the All Blacks lost a match in the first round of a World Cup.
Regardless of the results between now and the end of the first round, the quarterfinals will definitely feature four North-South matchups. There will need to be a miracle from Scotland to get South Africa out of the race or one from Georgia to keep Fiji out of the race. It’s the same scenario as in 2015, when the All Blacks-France, Springboks-Wales, Pumas-Ireland and Wallabies-Scotland met, all with wins at Sanzaar. This season, that situation may be reversed, although we cannot rule out the two greats of the South, Boks and AB, who have enough weapons to become champions again.
South Africa is another explanation for the transfer of power in the game of rugby. In the pandemic, when New Zealand left alone to put together its own Super Rugby, the world champions decided to send their franchises to join the Irish, Welsh, Scottish and Italians in the United Rugby Championship (URC ), a tournament in which the money flows are bigger than Sanzaar. The idea of leaving Super Rugby also has to do with the long journeys their teams have to make in a world where air routes have also been changed.
The Springboks, now the great candidates from the South to fight for the title against the Europeans, benefited from the move, because their teams were the main protagonists of the URC: The Stormers and Bulls played in the 2021-2022 final and Stormers dropped to Munster by definition from 2022-2023. The arrival of South Africans in Europe also strengthens the competition, and the current power of Ireland, nurtured by two base teams, Leinster and Munster, has a dose of explanation there.
Argentina is feeling the impact that Australia is suffering today, but in a different context. The “win-win” scheme from the sporting and commercial side of Super Rugby collapsed overnight. Jaguares dissolved, Gonzalo Quesada left, players went to Europe and sponsors withdrew or reduced their budgets. So, given this panorama, we intend to strengthen ourselves within the region. In bubbles, with countless swabs and analyses, and overcoming various difficulties, they chose the franchise competition, together with SLAR, now SAR, and that further explains why Uruguay and Chile qualified for the World Cup, which for the first time it has three countries in South America.
But just as it has helped Uruguay and Chile and will surely do so in the future with other countries, the departure from Super Rugby has worked against the Pumas as they have gone back to the old scheme of keeping away all the players and the various club. However, Argentina’s rugby class achieved post-pandemic victories against the All Blacks, Wallabies and England, all as visitors.
Europe has become stronger in France 2023. With natural candidates, such as France (there is a scientific miracle with Dupont in the quarterfinals?) and cup holders, such as England and Wales. The old woman, full of treasures, treasures of history and art, seeks the throne of rugby.