Fiji pose World Cup threat but Pacific Islands need a much fairer deal | Ben Ryan
Behind sugar, rugby players are the second biggest export from Fiji. Combined with Samoa and Tonga they provide almost 20% of the world’s professional rugby players. Fiji are Olympic champions in sevens and just won the HSBC World Sevens Series again. Pacific Island players regularly sweep up the end-of-year awards in all the top leagues for player of the season and nearly every top try-scorer in those leagues is from the Pacific. So it’s a no-brainer, right? Slap what’s left of your recently remortgaged mortgage on a Fiji v Samoa World Cup final on 2 November? Maybe don’t do that. Their actual fortunes in this World Cup will be very different.
The average difference in scoreline of Tier 2 teams v Tier 1 teams, as well as the margin of their biggest defeats, has been coming down every World Cup since 2003. That trend may well come to a grinding halt in Japan.Continue reading...