Joe Schmidt: Biennial tournament a better way of finding top team than Rugby World Cup

Joe Schmidt: Biennial tournament a better way of finding top team than Rugby World Cup
Former Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt gave no real indication as to what his next step will be and whether he has any intention to return to the professional game in a full-time capacity. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Joe Schmidt believes a biennial international tournament would be a better barometer of the game's leading lights than the current World Cup.

World Rugby has attempted to introduce a tournament in that vein but its Nations Championship idea was scrapped last year due to misgivings on the part of some Six Nations unions and leading players.

The concept had envisaged a 2022 launch with a 12-team tournament involving sides from both hemispheres playing annually and with the top two then progressing to a final.

Discussions on a revamped calendar have now resurfaced with the global pandemic and Schmidt's take is that an aligned schedule has to come about at some stage even if those same reservations from within the Six Nations continue to stand as a considerable obstacle.

“So those six nations don't want to relinquish the security that they have and, at the same time, the southern hemisphere play in the Rugby Championship with four nations but they don't have the same economies of scale and so they want to integrate a little bit more,” Schmidt explained in an interview with McSport.

“If you had, even biannually, a global test match championship it would be a lot better indicator of the best team than the World Cup which is whichever is the best team on the day - and that is part of the allure of it. It's a great competition but this would have a little bit more credence than the world rankings as well, which everyone finds a little bit hard to understand.” 

Schmidt's Ireland would have profited from just such a concept in recent years. His side enjoyed long periods of success across his span in charge but they fell far short of their expectations in the two World Cups, in 2015 and 2019, which fell under his watch.

The Kiwi also shared his lockdown experiences, which seem to have amounted to a lot of sports documentaries and books and time spent with his family, and described how the last three months have helped him refresh and reconnect with his loved ones after 20 straight years as a coach.

There was no real indication as to what his next step will be and whether he has any intention to return to the professional game in a full-time capacity but Schmidt is looking forward to rugby's return in the coming months and to the prospect of the rekindled Six Nations in particular.

Ireland still have a championship title to fight for with games against France and Italy outstanding while Leinster are awaiting word on when, or if, they can decide their Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens.

Add in the back end of a Guinness PRO14 campaign to be negotiated and Schmidt is of the opinion that motivation will not be a concern with players who will be buoyed by the prospect of rugby's return for two Irish interpros at the Aviva in late August.

"If those first couple of weeks are derby games and then get in and finish the PRO14 play-offs and European play-offs, and hopefully get some Test matches... player motivation sky rockets very, very quickly,” he explained.

"I had a text conversation with Johnny Sexton this morning and he's never lacked for motivation anyway, but his motivation is still very high. For players like Johnny and a fair few others it's actually given them a great window to get into physical condition and get over any bumps and bruises that they had.

"So I'm really looking forward to seeing a bit of live sport here in Ireland, it's starting in New Zealand [this weekend] and I think that's going to be an exciting competition because it's going to give us some live rugby to watch, at least.” 

- McSport’s MY MOTIVATION campaign focuses on staying connected, staying positive and stay motivated at home during this challenging time

More on this topic

Fiona Hayes: On a mission to finish job for UL BohsFiona Hayes: On a mission to finish job for UL Bohs

Hansen: New Zealand rugby owes Aussies no favoursHansen: New Zealand rugby owes Aussies no favours

Manu Tuilagi and Noel Reid among five players to leave LeicesterManu Tuilagi and Noel Reid among five players to leave Leicester

All-Ireland League to restart in 2021 as IRFU reveals season planAll-Ireland League to restart in 2021 as IRFU reveals season plan


More in this Section

Frank Lampard adamant he can solve Chelsea’s defensive woesFrank Lampard adamant he can solve Chelsea’s defensive woes

James McClean questions Irish teammates' attitude to discriminationJames McClean questions Irish teammates' attitude to discrimination

We’ll put it right – Solskjaer backs United to bounce back from Saints setbackWe’ll put it right – Solskjaer backs United to bounce back from Saints setback

McClean questions Irish teammates' attitude to discriminationMcClean questions Irish teammates' attitude to discrimination


Lifestyle

The world is in chaos and fascism is on the march. But enough about 2020 – what about America in 1940?The Plot Against America: Sky Atlantic series shows a parallel history that has echoes of today's world

Ubisoft has given us a look of some of their upcoming releasesGame Tech: A glimpse of Far Cry 6 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Exfoliating cleansers are the first step in upgrading your skincare routine.The Skin Nerd: How to get active when it comes to cleansing

The arrival of the new baby has led to a tricky family dynamic in the Cork-set show, writes Georgia HumphreysBaby's arrival leads to more adventures as the Young Offenders return

More From The Irish Examiner