Thursday, April 22, 1999

Besides France and Italy where else has Rugby made inroads into Continental Europe?

What other countries in Continental Europe do you see developing national team programs good enough to qualify for RWC?

Also where does sport have best shot of growing at the grass roots?

Answer on Besides France and Italy where else has Rugby made inroads into Continental Europe?

In continental Europe, a fully professional league exists in Russia, and one is starting next season in Spain. Portugal might also participate in this "Iberian" league. Georgia has a very strong program (they have a lot of players in the French Top-14), and Romania (traditionally a strong rugby nation) might finally be recovering from the collaspe of their entire sports program in the early-90s.

You might want to check out the European Nations Club (Six Nations B), which is the level below the Six Nations. A couple of these teams (Georgia and the Russians) could cause difficulties to either Italy or Scotland at the moment. There are hints/speculation that there may eventually be a relegation/promotion system between the two levels. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Nations…