The question cropped up when World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper said in March: “As the sport grows and we conquer new markets the discussion is about looking towards expanding (of the World Cup), rather than contracting.”
Undeniably money comes into it, with the word ‘markets’ notable. A bigger spread of team would almost certainly mean a longer tournament and more games to sell tickets for or air on television. New nations competing could mean more opportunity to advertise, with new audiences tuning in.
However, we have to ask: what do you want? Maybe you worry that smaller teams would be open to shellackings at the hands of Tier One nations. Perhaps you would like to see fewer teams, and a more competitive competition. Maybe you feel it’s fine as it is, with 20 teams involved.
Below is a poll. Let us know how many teams you think there should be at the World Cup. This poll will appear in the May issue of Rugby World magazine.