‘The Five Best teams in the World’ was the headline flash. The rugby may be reaching classy heights, but there is nothing ‘super’ about the facilities offered for this high-profile tournament.
Views of the French side preparing for a match in one of a string of tents, with portaloos lined up outside make you wonder what was on the organisers’ minds when the Chula Vista Olympic Centre was chosen as the venue. The Olympian touch is missing.
The concept was fine, but World Rugby must reconsider how big a role it plays in such an endeavour. Surely they should have the final word on the location and the support facilities laid on. The contrast with the concurrent Women’s World Cup football tournament is grotesque.
If a country with a greater fan-base had been chosen, most of these shortcomings would surely have been avoided. Canada has a long and distinguished history of laying on international competitions: the Canada Cup 1993-2005, the Churchill Cup in Vancouver 2003; the World Cup 2006 in Edmonton; the Nations Cup 2009-11, and the Super Series starting in 2015.
France would have ensured far larger attendances, New Zealand a far larger national interest, and there was the United Kingdom too.
The matches put on display deserve a much more dedicated setting.