The ancient Romans had a hand-held ball evasion game called Harspatum. Relevance to RWC 2015 ? Well, think of the Roman conquest of Britain from about the 1st to 5th Century AD. Were the seeds planted ? Bear in mind our research suggests that there are very long time-lags in the development of complex sports such as rugby. Rugby Union is derived from folk / village football. Is it in turn derived from Harspatum ?
On to the side-by-sides for ITA vs CAN. Two major international economic powers go head to head.
Italy (Continental European nation) ranked 15
Canada (Commonwealth Member) ranked 18
One striking feature is that Italy’s player / population intensity is almost double Canada’s. Rugby Union is clearly an element of broader British Imperial history and of much broader global economic development. It is interesting, therefore, that a non-English speaking continental European nation is higher ranked than, and has a greater rugby playing intensity than a Commonwealth member.
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|GDP per Capita||30916,0||37176,2|
|Arable land %||22,8||4,7|
|World Ranking (pre-RWC 2015)||14||18|
|World Ranking (current)||15||18|
|Affiliated players / total population %||0,14%||0,08%|
|Sources: World Bank, World Rugby, own calculations|
|Note: GDP per capita in constant 2005 USD|