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World Rugby Clarify Structure Of Proposed New International Tournament

World Rugby Clarify Structure Of Proposed New International Tournament
By Gary Connaughton
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After a skeptical reception when their plans for a new worldwide international rugby tournament was announced last week, World Rugby have clarified how the new suggested competition would be structured.

The new tournament was conceived in order to bring some extra competitiveness to the July and November international windows, which currently consist of test matches between northern and southern hemisphere teams.

The reports of the competition were met with concern from a number of corners, with some players saying it showed a lack of regard for player welfare. The Pacific Island nations were also outraged, as the rumoured format would have seen them excluded.


With opposition already building, World Rugby have moved to clarify the format of the new tournament ahead of their meeting in Dublin next week. They confirmed that discussion had taken place to introduce the competition, but that the reported format was not correct.

They say that its introduction would help to 'secure the long-term growth and stability of the sport in an ever more competitive sports and entertainment environment'. They also outlined how the competition would work, confirming that it would be a two-tier tournament, featuring promotion and relegation.

Crucially, this would mean any rugby be nation could potentially be amongst the teams included, in theory allaying the fears of the Pacific Island nations.

This is how they summed up the structure of the proposed tournament:


  • Nations Championship to debut in 2022
  • The 6 Nations, The Rugby Championship and British and Irish Lions completely retained and protected as jewels in the calendar
  • Two-division, merit-based format with promotion and relegation and a potential pathway for all unions
  • Two conferences comprising the 6 Nations and The Rugby Championship (where two tier two teams would be immediately added to make six in total)
  • Each team plays the other 11 teams once either home or away with points accumulated throughout counting towards a league table
  • Top two teams from each conference would play cross-conference semi-finals, followed by a grand final
  • Running in two of the four years in the Rugby World Cup cycle (not running in a Rugby World Cup year and truncated version in a Lions year)
  • Broadcast rights aggregated and collectively sold, increasing revenue potential. Possibility to centralise some sponsorship rights
  • The competition would provide qualification and seeding for future Rugby World Cups
  • Rugby World Cup to be enhanced as the pinnacle global event, potentially moving to 24 teams in 2027

This certainly sounds like an interesting concept, but it remains to be seen if it will appear those earlier concerns. There is certainly a long way to go before we see this idea come to fruition.

SEE ALSO: 'People Saw Ireland As Top Dog After They Beat Us, That Put Massive Expectation On Them'

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