With the World Cup Group Stages having come to a close today and the tournament being about to enter its business end it is time to look upon the performances of Europe's so-called 'Minnows', Georgia and Romania and whether they deserve a chance to play in the Six Nations.
It has long been debated whether there should be some sort of promotion and relegation in the Six Nations.
With the superb performance of Japan at this World Cup, the results of countries such as Georgia and Romania have often been overlooked. Both countries have been very successful with Georgia earning automatic qualification to the next World Cup.
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As Georgian Scrum Half Vasil Lobzhanidze says "Tier Two is closing the gap on Tier One," according to ESPN Scrum.
So on this note, should the Six Nations consider having a qualification process for the Six Nations to secure the best possible quality of Rugby and the progress of Tier Two nations?
How Qualification Would Work
Every four years after the World Cup there would be a qualification tournament for the chance to participate in the tournament for the next four years.
A team would earn automatic qualification for the Six Nations if they reached the World Cup Quarter Finals. Every European team that was at the World Cup but did not reach the Quarter Finals then they would be entered into a Qualification Tournament.
The teams in the qualification tournament would then each play each other nation twice, home and away. The amount of teams that then qualified from the tournament would be based on how many European teams had reached the Quarter Finals.
So for example if five European teams reached the Quarter Finals then only one qualification spot would be available. Or if three European teams reached the Quarter Finals then three qualification spots would be available.
Of course this formula runs into a slight problem if seven or eight European nations reached the World Cup Quarter Finals. So to combat this it would be the teams who reached the Semi Finals who gained automatic qualification instead and the losing quarter finalists would fight it out for qualification. The chances however of this happening are very low so I will not explain how qualification would work out in that situation.
So to present how qualification would work for the coming Six Nations. Scotland, Wales, Ireland and France would gain automatic qualification for the coming Six Nations based on them all reaching the Quarter Finals.
England, Georgia, Romania and Italy would then all be entered into the qualification tournament each country playing the other nations at Home and Away. Once the matches were complete then the top two nations would qualify to participate in the Six Nations until the next World Cup.