The 1014 Rugby chat with Gordon Hanlon, Director of Rugby for TSV Handschuhsheim in Germany.

Beneath the Six Nations explores the European structure outside Tier 1. Gordon offers a unique insight and sheds light on some controversial topics, including RWC qualification and the now famous recent match Belgium v Spain.

There is a lot more to this than just the now famous match. Gordon touches on many interesting subjects including:

  • The form of teams playing in the Rugby Europe Championship.
  • Some of the struggles the teams are faced with, particularly from clubs.
  • The place of rugby in some countries with respect to careers.
  • Ineligibility discussions that may impact the Rugby World Cup.

Here at The 1014 Rugby, we urge you to get involved in creating content for the community if you are in or around the rugby scene in Tier 2. There is so much going on out there and the rest of the World wants to know about it. If you have that story jump on over to our Join the Team page and get involved.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Great video guys.
    Im an Irish guy living in Spain. This RWC19 qualification episode has been a disaster for those of us trying to get the game going.
    A year ago, 2 sides from the same city, Valladolid, got to the final of the Cup – the King’s Cup as it is known. They filled the local soccer stadium with 22,000 people and the King came to watch. That made the TV news, and front pages of most newspapers. Shortly afterwards, the All Blacks were awarded a famous culture prize in Spain, the Prince of Asturias prize – for their excellence, but especially for their sportsmanship. Again, rugby was front page news as the lads performed a Haka for the King of Spain.
    Alhambra Nieves was names world rugby ref of the year… all of these things brought Rugby into the mainstream press, and suddenly clubs like ours were seeing a surge in kids signing up… the national side was playing to full houses of 13,000 in La Central. The game really appeals to parents looking to get their kids into a healthy sports environment with great values – a very strong perception that rugby has in Spain.

    Spain’s 7s side is in the top tier now, and looks like they will stay up. The whole country heard (after the fact) that thry had beaten Romania and only now needed to beat Euro-minnows Germany and Belgium. Germany was dispatched by 80 points. The King was at hand and came onto the pitch to congratulate each player individually as the last match was away. This left only Belgium, whom under normal circumstances, Spain would be expected to beat easily.

    And then – the bizarrist reffing display you ever saw, by a Romanian ref and assistants. Spain had previously asked Rugby Europe to change the ref as a win for Spain against Belgium would knock Romania out. The President of Rugby Europe (from Romania) refused the request.

    2 remarkable reffing calls stand out from the many in that match.
    1) Spain had a pit in from a scrum within the belgian 22. They drive through and the ref calls penalty advantage, allowing play to go on. The scrum half spins the ball, it reaches the centres, the Belgian line is broken so the Spanish centre finds himself in open space 10m from the tryline on his way to a glorious try – and the ref blows to give Spain the penalty from the scrum at the beginning of the phase.
    2) minutes later, again Spain attacking left to right in the Belgian 22. Reaching the centres, it is 3 on 1 for Spain. The ball is passed and the last Belgian defender intentionally knocks on. The ref blows for intentional knock on but only awards a penalty kick. No card and no penalty try – so he blew for the offense but did not give the sanction it required by the laws.

    At the end of the game, a number of the Spanish players let themselves down harassing the ref heavily verbally (3 players) and even pushing him around (2 players). They have finally been given sanctions of between 14 and 43 weeks.

    This is a disaster for grass roots rugby in Spain.
    1) finally the spotlight is on and the whole nation is waiting to see the team successfully qualify for the world cup and are let down
    2) the reffing display completely knocked on the head the idea that rugby is fair and played with haughty ideals
    3) the display of the Spanish players afterwards also betrayed the disciplined good behaviour ideals we had worked so hard to sell to the parents of young players

    In fact, had the Spanish players not made a show of themselves, I believe we would not be yalking about the injustice of the result, and World Rugby would not have noticed – Romania would show up in Japan as expected and nobody would be any wiser. But the Spanish bad behaviour made the press in England and Ireland, and then the cause of it dis so the next day. World Rugby could not then ignore it.

    As the guest from Germany said in the video, it is not yet clear what will happen regarding RWC19 qualification. Portugal await a match to decide who will play Samoa home and away in June in repechage, so the clock is ticking.

    One thing is sure – if Spain get to go to RWC19 it will definitely transform the sport in Spain. Not sure the same can be said for Romania…

    • This is an excellent comment. Would you mind submitting it through our Join the Team page as an article? It is no drama if you can’t, but it is excellent and it would be great for the World to see the numbers you are refering to with regars to the crowds etc… in Spain. Cheers, Steven

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