World Rugby: Rugby chiefs to discuss Nations Championship concept

Dylan Coetzee

2G6DNC3 Dublin City, Dublin, Ireland, June 28th 2021. Office of World Rugby in Dublin

Rugby chiefs from around the world will meet in Dublin to discuss the Nations Championship concept as they look to restructure the global calendar.

The idea of a competition every second year outside of World Cups and Lions tours failed to get off the ground three years ago due to disagreements between hemispheres and concerns over player welfare.

Looking for an agreement

It is hoped that an agreement in principle will be achieved this week for the Nations Championship to go ahead from 2026, with an announcement from World Rugby only expected after November.

The basis of the concept is to ensure a more aligned structure to the season with a stronger pathway for developing nations.

A primary concern is how the new structure would provide commercial uncertainty to the game that is still recovering from the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic with the current setup, decided in 2017, allowing unions to organise their finances accordingly based on established revenue streams.

The Nations Championship would consist of two divisions. The top division would have 12 teams, six from each hemisphere, playing in the summer and autumn slots, ultimately ending with a grand final.

The second division will consist of developing teams that can earn promotion to the top division facilitating a more structured growth pathway.

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