Source: Joe Allison:Getty Images

What’s to look forward to in 2024?

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So much depends on where we are viewing from, but for the widest audience, the shape of the second WXV must be of paramount interest. The results will help decide the shape of the 2025 World Cup.

For all its great success in 2023, the organisers are still faced with monstrous problems:

What changes, if any, are needed? For example, qualification.

Still three pools and three venues?

Where should the matches take place? – this may prove the toughest call of all.

Any changes to the regulations covering table positions? Is points difference to remain the defining factor?

Basic Questions for the Top 10

Australia – Jo Yapp’s challenge; will RA respond to her obvious needs? She won’t arrive till February.

Canada – can they overcome their ‘so near, and yet’ reputation? Finished WXV ahead of Australia, France and NZ!

Celtic Nations
– will the newly expanded Celtic Challenge bring quick results?
Ireland – how far can Scott Bemand advance the cause, now he’s got his feet under the
Scotland – what effect will their performace in WXV2 shape their showing in the 6
Nations? (unbeaten in South Africa)
Wales – what effect will their performace in WXV1 shape their showing in the 6 Nations?
(winless in NZ)

England – what are the areas John Mitchell sees as needing improvement? More aggression from Marlie Packer perhaps?

France – will FFR be satisfied with the new coaching team’s performance (5th/6 in WXV1)? Team selections hard to decode.

Italy – very proactive, but can they make the big breakthrough this year? They have adopted a revolutionary new scheme, involving two new franchises.*

– now all too aware they have fallen behind top European standards; Super Aupiki – bigger, better?

USA – Sione Fukofuka, the new head coach, has a huge challenge; any chance Eagles can assemble more often? I doubt it.

And Elsewhere: Africa

South Africa – how much further can they advance?
How to advance the cause of other enthusiastic nations from every corner of the continent? An enlarged Africa Cup coming.


The biggest continent of all, but lagging behind; Japan needs more competition; China looming
off stage at last?


How do you bring the European Championship closer to the 6N? More match-ups are one answer; reintroduce England A team to play them. Spain have linked with Italy*


So much talent; so few chances to develop it; several island states beyond Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have aspirations for greater deeds

South America

Colombia have been the standard-bearers for a vast continent; now others want a piece of the cake: Brazil, Chile, etc.