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Russia in red versus Belgium

The second round of the 2017 Rugby Europe Championshp, the second tier tournament on that continent, took place last weekend. Georgia, the reigning champion, easily defeated Germany 50-6. The Germans have their sights set on booking a place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. To do so, they will probably have to surpass Romania and/or Russia in Test match play.

Last weekend, Russia beat Belgium 25-18 and Romania were victorious over Spain 13-3. It appears Georgia will win this event again. They have already qualified for the RWC in 2019 from their two victory, 2015 RWC performance. (Along with Japan, the best of all Tier 2 nations that competed.).

More on The Six Nations Championship Relegation

Georgia have improved each year but the probability is slim for the promotion/relegation scenario where Georgia would go up and Italy would go down. The reasons are both business and tradition. The commercial aspect if this occurs would substitute Italy, a proved European competitor in a multitude of top professional summer and winter sports, with a small, lesser known Eastern European country like Georgia without any athletic cachet.

For fans of the other five nations, a weekend excursion to Rome for the rugby game and tourism after, would not follow with jaunts to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital.

Perhaps more significant to keeping the Six Nation status quo is the possibility that in a tournament in the future, the sixth place nation could be France or the four Home Countries. Imagine, for example, a situation where Scotland finished on the bottom, below Italy. The Scots would then not play England, Ireland, Wales, or France, which would result in a dramatic drop in attendance and television viewership with a Georgia XV replacement.

International competition began in 1871 when Scotland hosted an England team. That tradition, and all the contests between the four Home Countries, would be eliminated if any one of these nations finished last.

The Six Nations Championship is a for-profit commercial entity, separate from World Rugby, and it would never jeopardize match attendance, television revenue, or sponsorship monies by substituting a lesser brand for historically proved teams.