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16 teams in 2021 World Cup

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Eight have already qualified: Australia, England, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Lebanon, and they will be joined by eight others.  Results in this World Cup showed that there's a significant drop in quality below these 8 countries except possibly for Ireland, and there's a further drop below the next 6 too.

Consequently the groups will still have to based on rankings to avoid huge blowouts.  I suggest a modified form of what we've had with 14 teams: one group where three teams advance to the quarter-finals, two where two teams advance and one where only one team advances, with the teams in each group based on rankings, as follows:

Group A - three teams advance to quarter-finals

Previous Winner, highest ranked previous Semi-finalist, highest ranked previous Quarter-final loser, highest ranked qualifier

Group B - two teams advance to quarter-finals

Other previous Semi-finalist, third highest ranked previous Quarter-final loser, fourth and fifth highest ranked qualifiers

Group C - two teams advance to quarter-finals

Previous Runner-up, second highest ranked previous Quarter-final loser, second and third highest ranked qualifiers

Group D - one team advances to quarter-finals

Lowest ranked previous Quarter-final loser, three lowest-ranked qualifiers

The Quarter-finals use a bracket system, third from Group A shifts to the other bracket:

Quarter-Finals

A 1st Group A vs. 2nd Group B
B 1st Group B vs. 2nd Group A
C 1st Group C vs. 3rd Group A
D 1st Group D vs. 2nd Group C

Semi-Finals

E Winner A vs. Winner B
F Winner C vs. Winner D


Final

G Winner E vs. Winner F

Thus now that we know where the eight automatic qualifiers finished this time the groups should be:

Group A - three teams advance to quarter-finals

Australia, Tonga, New Zealand, highest ranked qualifier

Group B - two teams advance to quarter-finals

Fiji, Samoa, fourth and fifth highest ranked qualifiers

Group C - two teams advance to quarter-finals

England, Papua New Guinea, second and third highest ranked qualifiers

Group D - one team advances to quarter-finals

Lebanon, three lowest-ranked qualifiers

What does everyone think of this idea?

Edited by Big Picture

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While I think your idea has some merit, I prefer having 4 groups of 4 where the top 2 from each group qualify.

I think that is pretty much the universal standard within international sporting events that I am familiar with.

It’s definitely the most self-explanatory format for a wider UK audience.

Yes, there might be some lopsided scorelines in some group games between top and bottom seeds, but I think that it is to be expected.

One way to avoid the running up of scores might be to lessen the importance of F and A as a tiebreaker and go to head to head record instead.

Edited by Gerrumonside ref
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I hated the introduction of groups with 3  qualifiers but  have to admit its worked well for the last 3 World Cups. I suspect something similar with 2 contrived groups qualifying 3 and 2 qualifying 1. You still need to kick off with England v Australia to maximise attendance's, media attention and Big Bang opening.

 

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1 hour ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

While I think your idea has some merit, I prefer having 4 groups of 4 where the top 2 from each group qualify.

I think that is pretty much the universal standard within international sporting events that I am familiar with.

It’s definitely the most self-explanatory format for a wider UK audience.

Yes, there might be some lopsided scorelines in some group games between top and bottom seeds, but I think that it is to be expected.

One way to avoid the running up of scores might be to lessen the importance of F and A as a tiebreaker and go to head to head record instead.

No, stay away from head to head as a tiebreaker.  Either in a short tournament like the World Cup or a full league season, that method ignores the rest of the teams' body of work so as often as not it hurts the team which performed better in that competition.

It's widespread in North America and it produces just such unjust and counter-productive results, as it did this year in the NCAA Southeast Conference gridiron season.  A week ago yesterday Auburn beat Alabama 26-14 and their head-to-head win gave them the SEC West Division title and a berth in the conference championship match against East Division winners Georgia despite Alabama's far superior points difference.  Georgia won that title match easily 28-7, whereas they'd certainly have had a tougher match if they'd played Alabama instead.

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54 minutes ago, bird said:

I hated the introduction of groups with 3  qualifiers but  have to admit its worked well for the last 3 World Cups. I suspect something similar with 2 contrived groups qualifying 3 and 2 qualifying 1. You still need to kick off with England v Australia to maximise attendance's, media attention and Big Bang opening.

Putting the two previous finalists in the same group is even more contrived than having different numbers of teams advancing from each group.

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46 minutes ago, Big Picture said:

Putting the two previous finalists in the same group is even more contrived than having different numbers of teams advancing from each group.

I understand your point. Do you think this is compensated for though by having an extra qualifier from such a group? 

Also, it decides on the field who gets to play the 3rd best side in the semis, if the seedings go to plan (unlike this year).

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5 hours ago, bird said:

You still need to kick off with England v Australia to maximise attendance's, media attention and Big Bang opening.

 

No you don't, it's an opener and it's a huge event in its own right. Its arguably not even worked the last couple of times anyway and certainly didn't this year. 

England certainly don't have to continually play Australia perpetually,  just as a lazy option,  because we don't have the confidence to sell England v whoever as a opener. I am fairly sick and bored of this contrived opening anyway, we have been doing it since 1995.

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4 groups of 4 based on seedings, 2 qualify from each. Just bite rhe bullet or dont bother with 16 teams in the first place

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4 groups of 4, so there will be blow outs... there is anyway and there is in the Union version too. At least we have now got to the stage where we have competitive looking QF's.

Australia can blow out on anyone anyway, look at what they did to Fiji in the Semi's.

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I'd go with sixteen teams in four groups of four, but I'd split the competition into World Division 1 (Groups A & B ) and World Division 2 (Groups C & D ). 

A & B would be the strongest eight nations (or this year's Quarter-Finalists), with C & D the rest/qualifiers.

The top two from A & B would qualify for the Q-Fs, with 3rd and 4th from A & B playing a repechage round against the 1st and 2nd from C & D (So A3 vs D2, A4 vs D1, B3 vs C2 and B4 vs C1), with the four winners going to the Q-Fs. Straight knock out thereafter.

It would mean an extra round to be fitted in, though with some (unAussie-like) sensible planning this can be achieved in a five week competition.

For me, the positives are that it gives a clear structure to our WC, one where the disparities in quality are recognised and accounted for - blow outs should reduce. The Repechage round could be huge, particularly if all Q-F nations automatically qualify for the next WC. 

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We are Rugby League, we want what Rugby League is. We want what the RL world cup is.

England have to play Australia. Tonga have to play Samoa and NZ. Just organise it to showcase RL at its best. Its not just a comp, its a celebration.

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5 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

We are Rugby League, we want what Rugby League is. We want what the RL world cup is.

England have to play Australia. Tonga have to play Samoa and NZ. Just organise it to showcase RL at its best. Its not just a comp, its a celebration.

Agree...tbh I would stick with 14.

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5 hours ago, scotchy1 said:

We are Rugby League, we want what Rugby League is. We want what the RL world cup is.

England have to play Australia. Tonga have to play Samoa and NZ. Just organise it to showcase RL at its best. Its not just a comp, its a celebration.

You take away a possible ‘publicity event’ though for 2021 in the actual draw itself and the announcement of the seedlings, the venues etc.

By making everything so pre-meditated and prescribed you really reduce the excitement and newsworthiness of the ‘draw’ itself.

I hope we’re going to try to appeal broadly to all sports fans to make a success of it and a good start imo is to make the tournament structure clear and accessible.

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1 minute ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

You take away a possible ‘publicity event’ though for 2021 in the actual draw itself and the announcement of the seedlings, the venues etc.

By making everything so pre-meditated and prescribed you really reduce the excitement and newsworthiness of the ‘draw’ itself.

I hope we’re going to try to appeal broadly to all sports fans to make a success of it and a good start imo is to make the tournament structure clear and accessible.

I think we can use other events to build publicity.

I also think we would lose more by not having the best games and ability to market them early.

Though i would like us to put more effort and imagination in to the pre-amble. Things like squad announcements, squads leaving their nations. Squads arriving. An opening ceremony, some of the cultural aspects, some of the RL culture of the different nations etc. 

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1 minute ago, scotchy1 said:

I think we can use other events to build publicity.

I also think we would lose more by not having the best games and ability to market them early.

Though i would like us to put more effort and imagination in to the pre-amble. Things like squad announcements, squads leaving their nations. Squads arriving. An opening ceremony, some of the cultural aspects, some of the RL culture of the different nations etc. 

I agree we could create other events, but the draw is a good publicity tool for any international tournament.

It’s a perfect piece of stage-managed TV drama.

It kicks things off with the media and gives us the perfect platform to plug all the games - a free advert so to speak.

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1 minute ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

I agree we could create other events, but the draw is a good publicity tool for any international tournament.

It’s a perfect piece of stage-managed TV drama.

It kicks things off with the media and gives us the perfect platform to plug all the games - a free advert so to speak.

I get that, but i just think we would lose out on more by submitting to chance than we would gain from that publicity.

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I realise England is set to host by itself, but PNG was announced as a cohost at a later date, so I won't let it limit this structure.

Super Groups: A England (primary host), C Australia (holders)

Lesser Groups: B France, D Wales (secondary hosts)

Pot 1: 4 highest ranked remaining teams

Pot 2: 4 middle ranked remaining teams

Pot 3: 4 lowest ranked remaining teams

Pot 1 drawn into Groups A & C. Pot 3 Drawn into groups B & D. One of Pot 2 drawn into each group.

Two qualify from the Super groups and one from the lesser groups. The two remaining QF spots are for the best remaining Super group and lesser group side. This should leave plenty to play for in the final round, prevent a Samoa/Ireland controversy and limit blowouts, while still keeping the excitement of the draw.

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2 hours ago, JCrabtree said:

I realise England is set to host by itself, but PNG was announced as a cohost at a later date, so I won't let it limit this structure.

Super Groups: A England (primary host), C Australia (holders)

Lesser Groups: B France, D Wales (secondary hosts)

Pot 1: 4 highest ranked remaining teams

Pot 2: 4 middle ranked remaining teams

Pot 3: 4 lowest ranked remaining teams

Pot 1 drawn into Groups A & C. Pot 3 Drawn into groups B & D. One of Pot 2 drawn into each group.

Two qualify from the Super groups and one from the lesser groups. The two remaining QF spots are for the best remaining Super group and lesser group side. This should leave plenty to play for in the final round, prevent a Samoa/Ireland controversy and limit blowouts, while still keeping the excitement of the draw.

It’s all in England. The funding from the Government is based on all games in England. So co-hosts will be a non starter

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1 hour ago, GeordieSaint said:

Have they highlighted where the other two team’s will come from i.e. qualifying regions?

There will be a second one from 'Americas' and one from somewhere else.

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22 hours ago, SilentAssassin said:

4 groups of 4, so there will be blow outs... there is anyway and there is in the Union version too. At least we have now got to the stage where we have competitive looking QF's.

Australia can blow out on anyone anyway, look at what they did to Fiji in the Semi's.

Not sure about it, as they have more nations able to beat the top 3 in ru. 


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I read an article on NRL.com about the RLWC2021 & they say there will be a playoff between winner of the Middle East play offs (I assume South Africa will be involved) & the 7th team from the Pacific. Surely there are enough Pacific teams in the RLWC2021 & does this mean nations like Thailand (recognised by their govt) & Hong Kong, for instance, do not even get the chance to make the tournament?

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Just now, wackojacko said:

There definitely are blowouts in the union version.

Yes, but they are 'balanced' by having in the groups at least 2 teams that can actually win the gruoup. Plus another one (Italy, etc.) who could beat the top team in their day. 
At the moment, we haven't got this number of quality teams and we'd see blowout even in the 1st v 2nd seeded game of each group. 
Not entirely a fan of the way 2013 and 2017 RLWC groups were organized, but I was actually happy to enjoy England v Australia and NZ v Tonga in the group stage. 
I insist, comparison with ru World Cup are simply wrong as they have more 'big' teams. 

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