‘Most adaptable to change’ –The winners and losers of the pro era: Intro
I had intended to start this post with a quote from Charles Darwin but have since found out that the quote I wanted to use was in fact a paraphrase by Leon C. Megginson in 1963 who was writing about Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’. At least I did my research before including it, which cannot be said about the California Academy of Sciences who prominently placed the Darwin misquote in the stone floor of the new headquarters. Oh Oh! Anyway after a very long-winded introduction here is that now infamous quote.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but rather the one most adaptable to change.”(L.C. Megginson, ‘Lessons from Europe for American Business’, Southwestern Social Science Quarterly, 1963)
So which rugby nations have progressed the most since professionalism and which have failed to adapt?
Unfortunately the International Rugby Board (IRB) do not have world rankings pre 2003 but I have managed to find some via a great website called Pick and Go that tries to emulate the same method used by the IRB to rank teams allowing you to date world rankings as far back as 1960. Below are the calculated world rankings of March 1990 compared to the official IRB world rankings of January 2013.
Many of you will think I should be looking a little further forward to 1994, just before rugby turned professional in 1995. However there was a lot of ‘shamateurism’ taking place well before Rugby Union became officially ‘open’.
There is one obvious omission from the current top 10 world rankings above, Scotland now lie in 12th position just behind Tonga. Another interesting point is that the only northern hemisphere team to hold the top spot at any time between 1990 and 2013 is England. New Zealand as expected are the most successful team of modern times.
My first post on this topic, will look at the adaptations England have made since the game turned professional. Why did England triumph in the 2003 world cup making them the only Northern Hemisphere side to win the Webb Ellis Cup?
I plan to publish this post on Thursday evening as I thought it would be a good topic leading into the Calcutta Cup match on Saturday. I would love to hear any of your views as I continue my research so feel free to comment below or get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.