Rugby World Cup to be expanded to 24 teams in 2027
Former United States rugby head coach Gary Gold has slammed the “scandalous” new Nations Championship for locking out lower-ranked nations. The two-tier tournament, set to commence in 2026 after being passed at a World Rugby Council vote in Paris, will have no system of promotion and relegation until at least 2030 – leaving second-tier nations out to dry.
National teams ranked 13 to 24 in the world will compete in a “Challenger Series” but will be stuck there for at least four years while higher-ranking nations lavish in the top pool. The United States will be among those competing at this level and ex-Eagles head coach Gold put the championship on blast.
Meanwhile, the racism storm that erupted following England’s narrow semi-final defeat against South Africa has taken a fresh turn. World Rugby have confirmed they are investigating the incident but it has emerged they are looking at entirely different footage to what has been posted online in a bid to defend Bongi Mbonambi.
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England vs South Africa racism investigation takes twist
The new video footage circulating on social media that some claimed appeared to prove Bongi Mbonambi was speaking to his team-mates in Afrikaans rather than allegedly racially abusing Tom Curry is not the moment being investigated by World Rugby, according to reports.
As per the Daily Telegraph, the global governing body is looking into a different exchange, from after the ball had gone out of play, which is not picked up on the audio in the aforementioned clip.
Nations Championship put on blast
Former United States head coach Gary Gold has slammed the new Nations Championship for locking out tier-two nations by not adding a progression system until at least 2030.
“It is utterly and totally ridiculous. It is not progressive at all,” Gold told City A.M. “When the accusations come towards the powers that be of them being an old boys’ club trying to look after themselves, it is difficult not to believe that is the case. It seems like the boys’ club is looking after the boys. I cannot see another explanation to this. It is just nonsense.
“There are teams like Romania, the United States, Canada, Spain and Uruguay who have big ambitions and want to grow. And they’re not going to grow, this is the bottom line. Playing Fiji, Tonga and Canada [for Tier Two] nations is all fair and well, you will get better, but you’re not putting yourself in a position to significantly improve. It is scandalous. I read something where Nick Easter [former England No8] said rugby was one of the worst-run sports in the world and I am struggling to disagree with him.”
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