Waxing lyrics about singing "Kimigayo", the Japan national anthem, South Africa-born rugby player Pieter Labuschagne had alluded to how it's about small stones coming together to mutate into a big boulder, before the Brave Blossoms claimed an upset victory over Ireland this week.

"In a sense that is what we are doing on the field, 23 different men all working together for the same goal," flanker Labuschagne, of Pretoria who became eligible to play for his adopted country in June, told the Japan Times.

Well, as sexy as that sounds to supposedly showcase the emergence of "minnows" in the Rugby World Cup, it's soul destroying to see that metaphoric boulder smash to smithereens the already fragile Pacific Island tapestry.

The resource-poor Flying Fijians, Manu Samoa and Mate Ma'a Tonga — amid all sorts of expectations — have lost five of the six matches to date with just Samoa beating Russia 34-9 on Tuesday.

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All the hullabaloo about refereeing and buffering TV coverage give way to the biggest red herring of them all — the Brave Blossoms.

That is, how can the porous World Rugby eligibility rules enable a country such as Japan to perennially pilfer foreigners, including Islanders, to remain in the equation?

Like it or not, Japan has become the Silicon Valley for a dubious rugby renaissance of sorts.

Put another way, a country renowned for rolling out tidy vehicles off its assembly lines and dumping them around the world after a few years of use is now carving a niche in selectively welcoming rugby discards before refurbishing them successfully as their own.

Not every mechanical beast is road worthy but, every so often, the prosperous Asian nation seems to stumble on a few who tend to find enough grunt under the bonnet to keep that hybrid beast purring.

To rob a much-maligned Greta Thunberg's catchcry: "How dare you?"

Oh do feel free to chuck in the waterworks, crimson face and trembling hands for visual impact.

I feel the RWC promised a lot but, so far, has failed to stun. Fiji and Ireland losses aren't shocking or stunning. They are simply depressing and a sombre reality of where the code is heading. It's like watching Elvis Presley look-alikes.

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Japan coach Jamie Joseph (centre) is among a swag of New Zealand mentors spreading the gospel according to rugby but the Brave Blossoms' wins raise more questions than answers. Photo/Photosport
Japan coach Jamie Joseph (centre) is among a swag of New Zealand mentors spreading the gospel according to rugby but the Brave Blossoms' wins raise more questions than answers. Photo/Photosport

That does not in any way detract from the nous of Japan coach Jamie Joseph (an ex-AB who represented Japan) and his assistant, Tony Brown, or that of a swag of especially Kiwi mentors who are spreading the rugby union gospel around the world.

Nor should it from the All Blacks as the best global brand to emerge from New Zealand.

Coach Steve Hansen designated honorary chief of police of the city of Beppu for the day last week — as a sign of respect for both him and his team — is case in point on how much impact the collective can have to foster international relations.

But it's time for former Kiwi detective and outgoing mentor Hansen to read the riot act — as he did in calling for teams to lay of referees at the RWC — to change eligibility rules even though All Blacks dropouts are finding lucrative lifelines, not just in Japan but globally. The bonus, it seems, is scrambling on to an international stage for one's adopted country enroute the 21st Century spice trade.

Here's the staggering statistics of the Japan team — 16 "aliens" (as Japan immigration travel forms prefer visitors to tick) have infiltrated Joseph's 31-man squad for the RWC, including second-cup captain Michael Leitch, born in New Zealand.

That, my friends, is a United Nations armed forces and certainly not reflective of an imperial nation.

In other words, half the squad from the "Land of the Rising Sons" have severed their umbilical chord from their motherland because of World Rugby's political convenience.

Only the other day, a bright-eyed Michael Little, the son of All Black Walter who shares Fiji roots with Leitch, gave a snapshot of the joys of resurrecting a rugby career with the Sunwolves on the way to, hopefully, slipping on the Brave Blossoms jersey.

I say it's time to rebrand the RWC because it's not representative of individual nations of the world, as everyone knows it. The "Rugby Union Premiership", "Rugby Open Championship" or even the "Rugby Cup of Multinationals" are some titles that come to mind (just stay away from "league", for obvious reasons).

In fact, a more honest appraisal is acknowledging the Rugby World Cup has always been the Super Rugby Championship but many couldn't see it and some conveniently still choose to overlook it.

As it stands, the code is no different to the Baseball "World Series" confined to the boundaries of the United States, as it were, albeit having four or so nations thumping the table in the dimly-lit corridors of World Rugby.

Sunwolves captain Michael Little, with his whanau after Super Rugby match in Auckland, but he's on track to represent Japan despite his family's proud Fiji heritage. Photo/Photosport
Sunwolves captain Michael Little, with his whanau after Super Rugby match in Auckland, but he's on track to represent Japan despite his family's proud Fiji heritage. Photo/Photosport

If the tournament comes under the Fair Trading Act scrutiny, it would be interesting to see what the Commerce Commission or Consumer NZ make of its projection.

By all means, there's the scope to maintain the status quo of a hybrid competition but there should be an obligation to make it painfully clear players are mercenaries milking the cash cow with total disregard for patriotism.

Tsuyoshi Matsushima, an associate professor at Ritsumeikan University, told Japan Times the rules of global engagement is the code's "unique legacy".

Matsushima says clauses pertaining to residency date back to the 1890s when in the United Kingdom — home to the rugby unions of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales — the issue of eligibility of players was raised in light of players hailing from its colonies.

"People may have awkwardness about foreign names and players who don't look like Japanese being on the Japan team but rugby is a sport where players with various roots and physical characteristics respect each other and become united for a win," he reckons.

No doubt, the warm fuzzies are noted in creating a sporting global village.

However, it's for the same reason of unfairness that Great Britain shouldn't be allowed to compete in global events — athletics, Olympics, softball, volleyball, to name a few — representative of individual nations.