World Rugby announced on Monday three measures aimed at reducing inequalities between small and large teams during the 2023 World Cup in France.
Equal rest time for all teams
This was one of the main criticisms of the Rugby World Cups. The disparities between the different teams in terms of recovery times between two matches. Generally, the “small” nations were obliged to string together two matches in a short period of time, while the large nations benefited from greater recovery ranges. This inequality of treatment will no longer take place during the World Cup in France in 2023. From now on, each team will have “a minimum of five days of rest” between each meeting. “This historic decision makes France 2023 the fairest Rugby World Cup of all time”, welcomed Bernard Laporte, president of the FFR and vice-president of World Rugby in a press release, highlighting “a major asset for the health of our players, allowing them to meet the deadlines between matches with a minimum of five days of rest, and ensure the quality of the sports field until the end of the competition. “
For his part, the former Irish center Brian O’Driscoll, representative of the International Rugby Players on the board of directors of the Rugby World Cup, recognizes that “rugby has become too physical and demanding to be able to play with short periods of rest. All the teams have found it difficult, especially those that lack the roster depth of the major nations. It is a positive step forward for rugby and further demonstration of how International Rugby Players and World Rugby can work together to achieve better results ”.
Strong groups of players
Another strong announcement from World Rugby, the groups of each national team will go from 31 to 33 players. “By increasing the number of players allowed per team from 31 to 33, we demonstrate our strong commitment to explore all possible options to improve player health. France 2023 will not only mark the bicentenary of our sport, it will also go down in history thanks to these promising changes ”, continues Bernard Laporte.
The International Federation wants to focus on its priority: the health of the players. “In Japan, the number of injury substitutions fell from 2.08 per game in 2015 to 1.13 in 2019. At the same time, there was a total decrease of 28% in concussions, as well as a decrease. 37% of concussions after tackling compared to the average for professional competitions in 2018 ”, indicates the world body.
A final shifted by a week
As a result of the shared extension of rest times, the World Cup in France will last longer. Thus the end of the world competition is postponed by one week. It will start well on September 8th but it will end on October 28th. Without a doubt, the clubs, which are the employers of the players, should protest against this announcement. If their players make it to the final, they will return to the club a week later… The final 2023 World Cup schedule will be announced on Friday. France were placed in the same pool as New Zealand and the two teams could face each other in the opening match at the Stade de France.