Last weekend, Midi Olympique let loose first word of a new international rugby tournament which could replace the traditional summer and November tours.
That it will happen does seem likely. World Rugby officials met in Sydney during the week with the new competition being discussed.
The exact format of the tournament may differ from that originally reported by the French publication. It was said that the 12-team competition would be broken into four groups of three with the top side in each progressing to a semi-final.
That is likely to have been just one option put on the table. In today's Sunday Times, Stephen Jones outlines what is said to be the most popular alternative.
The competition would still be comprised of 12 teams but broken into two conferences. Those 12 would likely be the Six Nations teams (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, Wales), the Rugby Championship teams (Argentia, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa) plus Fiji and Japan.
It is likely to be an annual competition which would take a break in a World Cup year. Though, there is also the possibility that it could be held over a three-year period.
Fixtures would be played in July and November with there also being semi-finals and a final.
The new competition would end conventional tours. Though, the Lions Tour would still remain in place.
A tier two competition, which would feature sides such as Georgia, Romania, Spain, United States, Tonga and Samoa, is also likely to be part of the new format. For those teams, there would be the added incentive of promotion to the top tier.
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