Minnows Rugby World Cup success is in the numbers

By Henry Jacobs Whilst the ultimate prize at the Rugby World Cup is the William Webb Ellis trophy, the reality is that only a certain number of teams have a legitimate chance of claiming the title. In the 2015 showpiece, a rational mindset would view New Zealand at number one, through to Scotland in tenth position - prior to the commencement of the tournament - as the probable competitors for a place in the knock-out stage. That leaves a further ten sides, playing not to make up the numbers but for national pride and the love of rugby. As the group stage draws to a close a notable trait has been the marked improvement of these so-called ‘minnow’ nations. Japan’s opening round 34-32 upset of South Africa is the obvious example, with Eddie Jones’ side now in with a hypothetical chance of making a shock appearance in the quarter-finals. However across the board there has been consistently better performances by developing nations, further justifying the need for increased in
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