Even though Scotland got their match, Canada didn't, nor did Namibia, nor did Italy, nor did the All Blacks, England, and France. But what you simply can't escape out of this whole exercise is the damage that rugby has done to itself.

No, Scotland won't be calling in the lawyers, but they along with a number of the other teams were, and some still are, quite rightly pretty ropeable.

No, Namibia playing Canada was not going to change anything. But that's not the point, that was never the point. This is the sport's global showpiece and the chasm in it was laid bare with the cancellations. Italy have gone home heartbroken.


Comments have been made about some of the heavyweight teams, namely the All Blacks who, it has been suggested by more than one participant, are treated differently and are viewed differently. The inference is Scotland were potentially collateral damage that the organisers could have lived with, whereby the All Blacks simply could not have been.

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Namibia and Canada, who cares? Well once again we go back to the whole point of a world championship: everyone has to play. It's part of putting on such an event. When a sport spends the weekend with its very members firing salvos, that's a look you're wanting to avoid at all costs, and they failed to do that.

As much as the organisers might have loved the idea of Japan as hosts, they can't escape the risk they took in making the call. Especially when they knew the risks were real, the weather wasn't unheard of, it didn't come out of nowhere.

And because they never really addressed the so-called promises early on over contingencies, they have left too many with a bad taste over the handling.

The All Blacks would have got a gold-plated charter plane was one of the best lines. But as clever as it was, it still didn't disguise the anger that drove it.

The way the game progresses is everyone gets the same deal. All sides play all games, and out of that experience some shine, and some don't. But it's a true register and assessment of the game: its value and advances it's achieved. It's a complete experience designed to showcase the sport, and grow the connection between countries and their fans.

When we win, all this will be forgotten. But Italy won't forget, I doubt Scotland will, nor Namibia and Canada.


As much as the organisers want to throw their hands in the air and talk about the weather, they're the ones that put the whole thing in Japan. And they're the ones despite a lot of assurances, who didn't deliver a fair playing field to all of those that qualified to be there.