IT has been demonstrated breathtakingly during the past couple of weeks that, when it comes to tournament team sports, there is nothing quite as gripping as a Group of Death.

Such has been the drama, the heartache, the joy, the recrimination, as England's demise at the Rugby World Cup has played out, that rather than bemoaning the loss of the hosts, organisers should be plotting to have a Group of Death in all future competitions.

It is the accepted way these days that every major tournament has to run upon a seeding system, to keep the better teams apart until the latter stages.

One might think that this would preclude the phenomenon of the Group of Death, or the much more brutal and emotional-sounding Italian translation, Gruppo Della Morte.

But all football and rugby tournaments have them, and I am sure that if I were more knowledgeable about the likes of hockey, netball, volleyball, I could cite examples in these sports too.

Because no matter how tournament organisers scheme to keep the best apart for as long as possible, the maths rarely works, and there is always a 'joker' in the pack - a team that upsets the best laid seeding plans of men.

Of course, in this Rugby World Cup, Pool A - rugby tends to call groups 'pools', while football calls groups, er, 'groups' - became perhaps the most deadly Group (Pool) of Death in recent sporting history.

This however, appears to have been down largely to the fact that the draw was made almost three years ago, when the world rankings were considerably different to how they were last December when, had it been a football tournament, the draw would have been made.

Rugby World Cup organisers have sought to explain the ridiculously early draw by arguing that time was needed for nations to organise accommodation, training, and other facilities, a wan excuse that ignores the fact that football can do it for a World Cup finals tournament, for more teams, in the space of seven or eight months.

In Pool A, England have turned out to be the 'dead' ones, and based on the team's performances they deserved nothing more.

England's football team of course, have been pitched into Groups of Death at tournaments before, not least the World Cup finals in Brazil last year, when they failed to get out of a group including Italy and Uruguay, tasty opposition in anyone's book.

In retrospect, this group proved even more deathly, for the supposed whipping boys Costa Rica were more than up to the task, with Italy joining England on an early plane home.

In 2002 in the Japan/South Korea World Cup, England found themselves in a Group of Death with Argentina, Sweden and Nigeria, the latter two at that time far better teams than they are now.

On that occasion however, a David Beckham-inspired England prevailed against Argentina, and the South Americans and Nigeria failed to qualify.

There is it seems, one unbreakable rule when it comes to Groups of Death - that Chelsea must never find themselves in one.

It happens every year. One or more of (usually) Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal are drawn in a UEFA Champions League group that is fiendishly difficult to get out of, while Chelsea end up in one that pits them against three teams of the calibre of Helsinki Dustmen 2nds.

Of course, avid football fans may be keen to point out that with the way Chelsea are playing this season, Helsinki Dustmen 2nds and their ilk might fancy their chances, but that is to miss the point.

Generally, Chelsea get an easy ride. if you're looking for hot Group of Death action, avoid Stamford Bridge.

It could be argued that the Group of Death is a media creation, a smokescreen behind which bets can be hedged and excuses formulated, should a team not perform as expected.

The England rugby team's Group of Death experience has made for excruciating fall-out, exemplified by the Dr Dre Headphones fiasco.

Apparently players, not least captain Chris Robshaw, were discouraged from wearing their Dr Dre headphones when disembarking from the team coach, as it might upset certain sponsors whose own audio accessories were being ignored.

Did this affect the team's performance? Not a jot. But there it is, included as part of the national sporting media's forensic coverage of what may have gone wrong.

I love a good Group of Death, me - even if it means my team might struggle. Robshaw and Co however, may have a different view.