The 2015 Six Nations finished with one the most exciting days of International Rugby that many of us have ever seen. That final Saturday brought three games in a row that displayed some passionate and exhilarating rugby (unless you happen to be Italian, Scottish or French) with Ireland being crowned Champions.
The BBC certainly lucked out with the timings of the final fixtures. No one could have predicted that the championship would be decided right in the very last minute of the very last game. What’s more, the quality of rugby was fantastic; no boring scrum resets delaying the procedures and no prima donna refereeing spoiling it for the fans. No wonder that the BBC recording record-breaking figures across television and online coverage.
Irish fans will be delighted and rightly so but down at the other end of the table, the Scots will be wondering what went wrong. After so many years of disappointment, perhaps it’s time we wave goodbye to Murrayfield?
Scotland were undoubtedly the worthy winners of the Wooden Spoon, and have failed to perform for a few years now. Relegation from the Six Nations would be a devastating blow for Scottish rugby but it is one argument for improving the quality of the tournament. Having the lost all of their games, do Scotland have the right to be there in 2016? Arguably they don’t, but who could replace them? According to the world rankings (which haven’t yet been updated since the end of the 6 Nations) Scotland lie in 10th, Italy in 15th and Georgia are a surprising 14th.
Maybe it is time to give Georgia a chance, their results against top nations haven’t been great but they have consistently beaten the teams around them and they deserve a crack at some of the so called ‘big boys’. If not Georgia, then how about across the pond? USA (16th) and Canada (17th) both have great potential to become powerhouses of the game and regularly featuring in one of the most famous tournaments would surely boost the game.
A short tournament between those three countries and then a play-off against the Wooden Spoon holders would guarantee rugby that may not have the quality of the last day of the 2015 Six Nations, but would certainly bring a fair amount of tension and excitement.
The other likely consequence of a Scottish relegation is the utter decimation of the game in Scotland. With an already small rugby-playing population, a lack of premium international games at Murrayfield would surely mean the loss of a generation of potential rugby players. The good work done by the two pro-teams to promote the game would be undone over night.
Rugby is a game that needs players and the potential damage relegation could cause would be very difficult to repair. Rugby is, and always should be, an inclusive sport. Perhaps that means that relegation is too harsh a punishment for the team that finishes last, but there is certainly merit to it.
Do you think the Scots deserve relegation? Should we bring in other nations anyway? Use the comments below, or get in touch via Twitter or Facebook and let us know your thoughts.