The game of rugby is growing rapidly around the Globe and World Rugby is looking at the possibility of expanding its grandest stage (Rugby World Cup) from 20 participating teams to 24.
It is obviously not going to happen next year in Japan as the plans have been in place for and to accommodate 20 participating teams, but it possible that the world could see these changes as early as 2023 in France.
“We are always looking for an expansive point of view, rather than reducing so it’s just a question of when rather than if,” said Brett Gosper, World Rugby’s CEO.
The body is keen to see more Tier 2 teams play amongst the already proven big guns and had the extension been available for 2019 in Japan, it would have been more likely that the teams in the repechage tournament i.e. Kenya, Canada, Hong Kong and Germany would have completed the roster.
“We just want to make sure teams are competitive enough to move to a 24-team tournament. In order to grow the sport, it’s about getting interest from new fans and commercial interest in new markets but you’ve got to make sure you’ve got the teams.”
For the past two decades, Rugby World Cup has featured 20 teams: with 5 teams placed in each of four pools.