Why is Anglo-Saxon rugby above the competition?

Hangover the day after this tempting France-South Africa (28-29). If the result is not as expected, the duel has fulfilled all its promises in terms of intensity and technical level. France is eliminated in the quarterfinals. From now on, with the elimination of our Blues, the path is almost clear for Anglo-Saxon rugby which, barring any surprise, should win the precious Webb Ellis trophy.

The calculation is quite simple: Of the last four teams competing, three have their roots in Anglo-Saxon rugby, the homeland of rugby. If it is difficult to imagine Argentina, the only Spanish-speaking team, winning the precious sesame, the mere presence of the Pumas in the semifinals is almost an achievement. In 2019, during the last World Cup in Japan, the final four was made up entirely of nations, inspired by the other side of the English Channel.

This year, Argentina is almost an intruder. The other three Anglo-Saxon teams (South Africa, England and New Zealand) seem far above the rest.. Proof that rugby continues to fight to free itself from its homeland. “There is still a very strong presence of British culture in football today. Particularly when we look at the major nations that are at the highest level of the world rankings, be it the men’s XV, but also the women’s XV.” .says Carole Gomez, a graduate assistant at the Institute of Sports Sciences at the University of Lausanne. Absent from these semifinals, but announced as favorites, Ireland was, until a few weeks ago, considered the best team in the world by the rugby world.

France is doing well

Faced with the clear dominance of world rugby dominated by British culture, France has nothing to be ashamed of its level of play. Furthermore, you only have to look at the popular success that the organization of this World Cup has generated. The fans responded, both in the stadiums and on television.

To understand this madness, we have to go back a few years. “In parallel with the United Kingdom, France has developed a history and a very intimate relationship with rugby. First, thanks to the development within the large metropolises and then within the territories with the so-called church rugby.“says Carole Gómez, before adding:”Then the opposite phenomenon occurred: the return to the large metropolises.”.

We are at the beginning of the 20th century, when France hosts the Five Nations Tournament. The exclusion of the early 1930s did not slow the progress of French rugby. “On the contrary, France continued to build links, organizing matches, organizing tours and even creating an international amateur rugby federation, the FIRA, in 1934. [ndlr : Rugby Europe aujourd’hui] AND continue keeping rugby alive in its territory, details the author of Geopolitics of rugby, published by Dunod. Bringing rugby to life on its territory, a successful mission for the French Rugby Federation, which has seen the number of licensees skyrocket since the start of the World Cup.

To go further:

To fully understand… The geopolitics of rugby

Jamie Franklin

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