I love my internationals as much as the next man, but I would have stuck with 14 for the next NH one, and gone to 16 thereafter.
If Fiji get a side in the NSW Cup, we will have 7 nations with full time clubs either in NRL/next tier or SL/next tiers. Samoa, Tonga and Cooks' ties to Australia and NZ are so deep that they can justifiably be considered part of the family, even with Heritage players.
After that, it remains a struggle - certainly, a strong case can be made for the roots of the game in Serbia, Lebanon and USA. After that, perhaps Canada? Maybe Scotland, if the 4 Ns is a success?
Thereafter, are we likely to be a bit thin? I am not a fan of numbers for numbers' sake, and would rather a "legitimate" Serbia entered and was beaten than to see Italy squads like we had in 2013. I would rather meaningful teams in a competitive competition for the next NH one.
For the next SH one, then I would be happy for their to be 16 teams - ironically, Italy and Ireland are likely to have greater appeal to the many ex pats in Oz than the bemused locals over here.
But, it is great that we have a plan in place so far out and shows admirable foresight and ambition by the game!
I'm not so sure. A lot of teams will be easy beats whether it is 14 or 16 teams. 16 teams just presents far better to the outside world.
I can't think of any world sporting competition where there are really only a limited number of true title contenders, but the groups of 3 with 2 qualifying looked pretty bad.
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