Cruel and Unusual Punishment
by Paul Waite
20 Nov 2003
This is a message to Syd Millar of the IRB: please drop the 3rd/4th playoff game from the Rugby World Cup format for 2007.
As the title suggests, it is indeed cruel and unusual punishment, not only for the players who are physically and mentally scarred by having their hopes trashed in a semi-final loss, but also for the fans.
To add insult to injury, the battered losers have to front up after only 3-4 days rest from what was probably the most bruising and draining game of their season, possibly their lives.
The final cruncher is that nobody cares what the result of it is!
I appreciate that former World Cups depended somewhat on a knowledge of the finishing order 1-2-3-4, of the teams involved, due to a misplaced idea that it would be used for seeding some four years hence. Athough what relevance it has after that amount if time is anyone’s guess.
These days we have official rankings on a test-by-test basis, and so determining who is third or fourth is completely irrelevant. When the World Cup draw is made therefore, all that needs to be done next time is to consult the latest rankings to determine seeding.
To my knowledge, every single person asked for an opinion on this subject, fan and player alike has said that they think the 3rd/4th playoff game should be consigned to the rubbish bin of history.
Syd Millar, IRB Chairman – for the sake of all involved, please make it so!by