Monday, August 12, 2013

IRB confirms Tier Two tests for November

The USA will host the NZ Maori

The IRB has confirmed the international schedule for November 2013 with the governing body of global rugby announcing a list of twenty-two matches, most of which will be played in Europe. The list excludes the South America v North America play-off for the right to be the Americas 2 qualifier at Rugby World Cup 2015 meaning that the official total will increase to at least twenty-four. The matches between Uruguay and the North American runner-up have been penciled in for November 23 and November 30 for quite some time with the Estadio Churrua in Montevideo set to play host to the first match with the return fixture being played in North America.

The upcoming home and away matches in Charleston, South Carolina and Toronto will reveal who Uruguay will face and the IRB appears to have implied that the winner will be Canada. Indeed Canada has been given a three match tour of Europe, two matches more than the USA. After facing the New Zealand Maori (also known as the Maori All Blacks) in Toronto on November 3, Canada will face Georgia in Tblissi on November 9, Romania in Bucharest on November 16 and Portugal in Lisbon on November 23. The USA, in contrast, will play host to the New Zealand Maori on November 9 and face Georgia in Tblissi on November 16. Should the USA overcome Canada to qualify for England 2015 as Americas 1 then the USA would likely replace Canada as the visiting opponent on November 23. 

Further south three Southern Cone countries will host international rugby in November with both Spain and Portugal playing test matches. Chile wll host a test against Spain on November 9 while Uruguay will play host to the same opponent on November 16. Spain wll then return home to face Japan in Madrid on November 23. Portugal´s visit to South America is for just one test. The lobos will face Brazil for the first time on November 15 in São Paulo.  

A curiousity of the scheduling is the use of the name Tier 2 November 2013 Match Schedule. It implies that a number of the included sides are of the Tier Two variety despite being classified as Tier Three nations. In addition test matches featuring Namibia are yet to be confirmed. 


  1. The naming of the term "Tier 2" was coined by the IRB after the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

    However oddly, they scrapped that term in 2007 and introduced "bands" (

    But despite them changing the term and the "bands" term still remaining, the IRB still themselves refer to the nations as "Tier 2" or "Tier 3" and the term is still commonly used despite being got rid of 5 years ago.

    Meanwhile sides who were officially regarded as outside of the "performance band" (or what was Tier 2) such as Georgia, Russia and Namibia for example are now also commonly referred to as "Tier 2" despite officially not being listed in the second group.

    So it would seem that the IRB themselves have no longer any idea what nations "Tier 2" applies to. It is just roughly "Teams not in the 6N or RC in and around the RWC".

    I personally dislike the term as it implies an inferiority and used patronisingly.

    The likes of Canada and Japan are a lot closer to Italy than Italy are to New Zealand or South Africa.

  2. Another irony is that Samoa is included in the Tier 2 nations while it is higher ranked than Ireland, Scotland, Argentina and Italy who are Tier 1 nations. The same is true for Tonga, another Tier 2 nation, which is higher ranked than Italy. The way Samoa has performed since November 2010 it should be a Tier 1 nation.