Rugby union set for defining week as sport’s bosses discuss huge new global competition

·1-min read
Siya Kolisi  lifts the trophy as South Africa win the 2019 Rugby World Cup final at Yokohama Stadium. (PA)
Siya Kolisi lifts the trophy as South Africa win the 2019 Rugby World Cup final at Yokohama Stadium. (PA)

Rugby faces a defining week in Dublin as administrators look to set straight the longstanding issue of the global calendar.

A proposal for a new global competition, held every two years from 2026, is up for discussion as the chief executives of the Six Nations and Sanzaar unions, as well as World Rugby, meet in Dublin.

The idea is for a two-tiered competition held in each even-numbered year from 2026 – so as not to clash with Lions tours or the World Cup – that would not affect membership of the Six Nations.

The top tier would be made up of the Six Nations, Sanzaar teams (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina), Japan and Fiji.

They would meet in July and November, before a final on the fourth weekend of November, as well as relegation play-offs against leading nations from the second tier. That would be made up of the USA, Tonga and Georgia.

The biggest roadblocks to this radical change, as ever, is how revenue would be shared and whether clubs would release players for long enough.

On Thursday, World Rugby are also set to confirm Australia and USA respectively as the hosts of the 2027 and 2031 men’s World Cups, while England (2025) and USA (2029) are set to get women’s World Cup.

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