- 18 Sep 07, 08:05 AM
Do you know, I think that this World Cup is hastening the end of the Six Nations.
The premier northern hemisphere competition is being exposed for what many have suspected it to be for a while – protectionist.
I have delayed writing my first blog for one reason: it’s because I have been struggling to believe my eyes as rugby’s world order, at least in the middle tier, is left in a pile of rubble.
In their opener against Scotland in St Etienne, the Portuguese played with an “amateurish” passion that was truly delightful to watch.
They hurtled into rucks, they flew into tackles, they didn’t “come up in a line” in defence and they didn’t “bridge ruck” in the latest fashion.
Nope, they went at it as if it was their passion, their love, their big day on TV, which of course it was.
Their trouble is that they can only be as good as the rugby they play regularly. But when it comes to Argentina, Georgia and Portugal, they could all slip easily into the Six Nations and expand it.
For us as rugby people to ignore these countries and look after ourselves borders on the criminal. We keep our money, we keep our skill set, and we keep our competition to ourselves and pretend that somehow we are special, but above all we stop other countries progressing.
I love this World Cup, because more than any World Cup before, it is changing the world order, and that will force us to wake up.
John Beattie is a former Scotland international who hosts radio and TV programmes for BBC Scotland.