One of the major issues of Rugby World Cup´s is that teams who are given no chance of winning the tournament or getting past, or even to the Quarter Finals face the top ranked sides on the global stage despite rarely or never facing the teams at other times. This can mean players and teams are not prepared fully for the challenge of facing a title contender. These teams are catergorized as rugby´s second-tier or, in some cases, rugby´s third-tier. They are teams which, aside from Japan, remain fully amateur and unable to regularly compete well against let alone defeat the teams from The Six Nations and The Rugby Championship.
There are examples of the second tier seriously pushing the first tier or even defeating them. Rugby World Cup 2011 had a number of such cases with the USA giving Ireland a tough match and Tonga, despite losing to Canada, defeating France. But the norm continues to be that the first tier sides win the matches comfortably. The World Cup draw in 2011 like in earlier additions did not help matters as teams were forced to back up to play two matches with only four days between them. It makes a complicated situation even harder for second tier sides which resulted in harsh criticism being directed at tournament organizers with Samoa´ s Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu in particular being vocal.
With teams outside of the first-tier playing rarely against the sport´s leading countries the situation is not at all easy for the sides to develop. But the problem runs even deeper as second-tier sides face each other very rarely. In most cases the matches are restricted to geography with the Pacific Island nations only facing each other and Japan, the Europeans playing eachother and the USA and Canada playing each other much more often than others. November 2010 was a breakthrough with the USA and Canada both facing Georgia and Portugal in Tblissi and Lisbon.
The success of the occassions underlined the need for more and the second tier, led by the USA has been rumoured on social media sources to be in the process of setting up an annual Tier-Two competition. Rumours proclaim that the President of the Georgia Rugby Union, Gia Nijharadze, recently said on national television that the USA is to host a meeting latter this month which will include Canada, Fiji, Georgia, Japan, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Tonga and possibly Namibia and Portugal with the aim of kicking off the competition in 2013.
If true, it could well be the breakthrough that rugby needs and will certainly provide the participants with a vastly improved list of fixtures. It does, however, lack a number of countries who merit inclusion. Portugal, Spain and Uruguay would all have reason to feel hard done by should they not be included.