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Last Updated: Sunday, 26 October, 2003, 07:57 GMT
Kirwan calls for draw change
Italy coach John Kirwan
Kirwan did not get enough time to train with his players
Italy coach John Kirwan has called for the World Cup draw system to be overhauled.

Italy failed to make their first World Cup quarter-final after a 27-15 defeat to Wales in Canberra, with Kirwan left to reflect on his team having to play four pool matches in 14 days.

In stark contrast, Italy's Pool D opponents Wales and New Zealand have enjoyed a week between fixtures.

Kirwan wants the International Rugby Board (IRB) to introduce a random lottery to determine who plays when in the next tournament in France in 2007.

"The teams that are good enough to play twice a week are playing once a week," Kirwan said.

"Teams like us who are not good enough to play with the depth are playing twice a week."

The All Black legend is not the only coach to question the fairness of the draw, with Japan's Shogo Mukai weighing in as frquent games took their toll on his squad.

"Our objective was to come here and win two games and put ourselves in a situation to make the quarters," Kirwan added.

"I think our main problem was that we came down here hoping that the draw wouldn't affect us, but in the end it cost us.

"If we are going to say that's fair and even and we're growing the game, then the (World Cup) draw definitely has to be looked at.

"The draw needs to be made public with the head of the IRB at the next World Cup standing in front of a television camera and make it a bit like the Lotto.

"He draws a name and puts it there and then we all know that it's fair and even and we can get the fair amount of rest for a fair and even competition."

Kirwan said his biggest regret at the tournament was the lack of training time to refine his game plan.

"We had to concentrate on beating Tonga and Canada and most or our training before that was specifically for beating those two teams.

"The game plan we tried to put in place was working, but we just didn't have enough time to really refine it."

Links to more Italy stories


Mukai bemoans fixture list
21 Oct 03  |  Japan
Fiji criticise schedule
19 Sep 03  |  Fiji

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