Rugby World Cup: Why following the Irish feeder system is paying off for Tier 2 nations

The countries that have shown progress at this World Cup,or in the build-up to it, share a common thread, while Japan and USA have seen a slide in fortunes

Michael Leitch carries the ball forward in a Japan maul in last week’s Rugby World Cup match against Samoa in Toulouse. Picture: Getty

A long sigh indicated the complexity of the question. Tadhg Leader wasn’t sure where to start when asked whether World Rugby was doing enough to help Tier 2 nations in the sport.

Leader, who is from Galway and played for Connacht, is also a former USA international having played in Major League Rugby (MLR) with New England Free Jacks.

He’s seen rugby development from a Tier 1 and Tier 2 perspective and remains actively involved ...