Rugby - The Game They Play in Kazhakstan

John O'Neill was proud as punch, and more than a little relieved, when he announced to the World that the Wallabies were to play the All Blacks in a full Bledisloe Cup international in Hong Kong in November. "The future of Rugby is in Asia" he proclaimed (or words to that effect). More to the point, the future of the ARUs bottom line had been secured, at least in the short term.

Meanwhile, South Africa announced plans to play Ireland in Dubai as part of their European Tour later this year. "The future of Rugby is in the Middle East" (or words to that effect)proclaimed SARFU.

They're both right. But not only that. The future of Rugby is in Scandinavia and Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and Central America. Indeed anywhere that has access to a satellite dish, a wonky old soccer ball that doesn't bounce right and slow fat guys that can't kick, Rugby will find an appreciative viewing audience and a ready supply of players.

So look forward to the Six Nations being played in Tunisia, Freetown, Istanbul and Jerusalem. Expect Tri-Nations matches in Cairo, Islamabad, Tashkent and Phnom Penh. Tune in to watch the blockbuster finals of the African Seven Nations and the Asian Five Nations between Kazhakstan and the Arabian Gulf (actually that one's real).

Ultimately the increased dominance of Rugby, or 'the World Game' as it will come to be known, will ensure a Rugby World Cup Final featuring 42 nations of the 194 countries on the planet (or 195 if you include Taiwan or 197 if you count England, Wales and Scotland as separate entities deserving of country status) that contested Rugby World Cup qualifying.

Or maybe there'll just be one-off cash cows played in Hong Kong, Dubai and Tokyo.

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