Wynne Gray on sport

Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Wynne Gray: World Cup draw surely need not be made so early

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If fans support their side and have the ability to travel to the UK for the World Cup, they will go where their side is playing. Photo / NZ Herald
If fans support their side and have the ability to travel to the UK for the World Cup, they will go where their side is playing. Photo / NZ Herald

Drum roll and mood music, cue the World Cup draw for 2015. Who cares? Probably some tour operators and those fans who want to know exactly where they will be heading for some pool games.

After that it's a lottery, as France showed in 2007 and last year.

But really what is the hurry, what is the rationale behind this flurry which has the bulk of the 2015 draw decided early next month?

Some of the sting is taken out of the tournament because the draw is made on the basis of nations' rankings almost three years out from the next tournament in England.

Rankings this year sort out which pool teams will be in for 2015.

At the moment New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and France are on the top line, with England, Argentina, Ireland and Wales next and on the third line of automatic qualifiers come Samoa, Scotland, Italy and Tonga.

All very fine and dandy and lather-inducing for World Cup officials.

But just say in two years, with almost a season to run before the eighth global tournament, England and the Pumas are in the top line and Samoa have nudged into the second level of favouritism.

You've got to think that England, especially as hosts, would far rather be in a pool where they avoid the All Blacks and Samoa until at least the playoffs.

Making ratings much nearer the tournament is a far better representation of the global order and rewards teams for working towards the World Cup.

Then the tournament is likely to have a better balance in the quarter-finals. Form now should not be as important as it is leading into the event.

Organisers want to get on with "arranging" matches so those with greater drawing power will be allocated larger venues. Travelling fans, they argue, want to know where their sides will be playing.

Of course they do but they would also like their teams to get a fair shake of the seedings dice a bit closer to the tournament.

It won't matter if they have to go to St Mary's Stadium in Brighton, St James Park in Newcastle or points in between.

If they support their side and have the ability to travel to the UK for the World Cup, they will go where their side is playing.

Even if the World Cup organisers waited until this time next year to make the draw, it would be preferable. Maybe new IRB boss Brett Gosper could send the results out on Twitter.

- NZ Herald

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