Six Nations chiefs recently ruled out the introduction of relegation and promotion format to the worlds oldest international rugby tournament.
For all the talk of growing the game by World Rugby, the 8 founder unions of England, France, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa seem to be afraid of losing control of the game and have continually held back the expansion into other countries , instead keeping the game as a cosy old boys club just for them.
In recent years, however, there have been moves by the founder Big 8 unions to move into the Amercian market.
Therefore, why don't the 6 Nations look to tap into the American market by adding USA & Canada to the tournament and make it 8 nations split into 2 pools of 4 with an end of season grand final and relegation playoff with Rugby Europe (6 nations B). TV and sponsors would love it and this would open up the game to continental Europe and North America overnight. Sadly it won't happen as the game seems to be run by officials who are afraid of change and losing control.
Georgia regularly beat 6 nations sides at under 18 and 20 level but have nowhere to go. Also, I believe Romania haven't been given a game against a tier 1 side outside of a Rugby World Cup since 2003, yet in 2011 RWC they almost beat Scotland, but nothing was done to help them progress since. The same goes for Georgia, after almost beating Ireland at the 2007 World Cup, little has been done to help them.
Players and fans in tier 2 countries need something to aim for. The 6 Nations must open up.
Talking of American rugby, check out the behind the scenes film series I edited for USA Rugby at the Rugby World Cup by clicking here. The footage was filmed by the USA players and USA Rugby media manager Matt McCarthy of Rugby Wrap Up while on tour.