Fairer system set to be announced in coming weeks for code’s showpiece event.
The International Rugby Board has announced an amended playing schedule for the 2015 World Cup it says will not given an extra advantage to the code’s superpowers.
Smaller nations complained to the ruling body that traditionally stronger nations such as New Zealand, England, Australia and France, were only given weekend games to maximise the television audiences in 2011.
As a result, the players in those sides were given the luxury of between five and seven days rest between games, while minnow nations often had a little as three.
IRB chief executive Brett Gosper said those concerns had been addressed in the draw for the tournament ahead of its release in late April or early May.
New Zealand Rugby Union boss Steve Tew said his ruling body actually asked for the change, in order to create a more level playing field.
“We asked for it,” he said. “We thought that it was unjust that the small unions were asked to play a critical event with shorter (rest) times than our games, so tier one nations made that request at the end of the last World Cup,” Tew said.
Gosper said he would also meet with European clubs about releasing their star players so they might be selected for their home nations for the World Cup.
Many Polynesian players ply their trade in the European leagues, but their club’s refusal to release their stars for the 2011 World Cup limited the impact many pacific nations could have on the competition.
Gosper said the IRB would not think twice about handing down sanctions against clubs guilty of not releasing players, but admitted it would hard to police.
“It’s a bit like tax-dodging, there are always going to be around-the-fringes issues,” he said.
“Maybe things will happen behind our backs that we can’t quite control. All we can do is make sure that the intentions behind regulation nine are imposed as best as they possibly can be and made as robust as possible.”