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  1. The classic tournament format used for this world cup simply hasn't worked - too many one-sided games that has arguably contributed to the poor attendances. No amount of positive spin will make me enjoy watching the likes of Greece and Jamaica getting spanked by Tier 1 nations. We're starved of international RL so much that not having a format that allows Tier 1 nations play each other as much as possible seems a wasted opportunity. This begs the question - what's the best tournament format for a RL world cup that will produce meaningful, interesting and competitive group games? Here's a suggestion that some will scoff at (but secretly agree with). I propose creating two separate men's world cup competitions: - An 'Elite' World Cup - A 'Development' World Cup Format - 8 teams in each competition - 2 groups of 4 in each competition - Groups based on tier/ranking - Group teams play each other once - Playoff system used for quarter finals that rewards higher placed teams. For example: Elite quarter finals: - 1st G1 v 4th G2 - 2nd G1 v 3rd G2 - 3rd G1 v 2nd G2 - 4th G1 v 1st G2 Men's Elite World Cup Group 1 Australia New Zealand England Tonga Group 2 Samoa Papua New Guinea Fiji Lebanon Example knock out stages (based on likely results): Q1: (1st G1 v 4th G2) Australia v Lebanon Q2: (2nd G1 v 3rd G2) New Zealand v Fiji Q3: (3rd G1 v 2nd G2) England v Papua New Guinea Q4: (4th G1 v 1st G2) Tonga v Samoa S1: (Winner Q1 v Winner Q4) Australia v Tonga S2: (Winner Q2 v Winner Q3) England v New Zealand Final: Winner S1 v Winner S2 Men's Development World Cup Group 3 France Ireland Cook Islands Italy Group 4 Greece Jamaica Scotland Wales Same format as the elite comp. Pros Competitive, high quality group games = higher attendances = higher tournament revenue. 'Development' nations have something to play for/ a realistic chance of winning something. Easier to select suitable venues for group games. E.g. Group 1 games should take place in 20k+ stadiums in the heartlands. Group 3 and 4 games should take place in smaller stadiums, mainly outside the heartlands (where locals aren't as savvy to the quality of the teams). Cons Format is not as easy to understand for casual viewers not familiar with a playoff type system. 'Development' nations don't get the chance to play Tier 1 nations (minor point in my view). Having separate men's world cup competitions may look daft? The last point is no doubt the key thing the naysayers will point out. But realistically the Group 3 and 4 teams have zero chance of winning a RL world cup so why not give them something to play for? Football has the Champions League and the Europa League so why can't RL do something similar? It would still be a festival of rugby league with 16 teams. You know it makes sense.
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