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Battle lines drawn as English and French clubs hit out at World Rugby plans

March 12, 2019 9:46 am
Sarecens prop Billy Vunipola is challenged by Racing 92's Dimitri Szarzewski during a European Champions Cup match. English and French clubs are unhappy with proposals that could impact their competitions. {Source: Stuff.co}

The leading French and English professional clubs have hinted at legal action if World Rugby proceeds with its proposed plan to restructure the international game.

Japan and Fiji look set to join the southern group with World Rugby insisting rankings will be used to determine the makeup and that promotion relegation will be involved.

In a joint statement Premiership Rugby and its French counterpart, the Ligue Nationale de Rugby says the clubs believe the latest proposal runs contrary to what was agreed under the terms of the supposedly long-term agreement the various stakeholders signed in San Francisco two years ago.

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The guardian.com reports, the agreement was supposed to cement the international calendar until 2032 but the Nations Championship would now involve an increased number of Tests in November and early December.

The clubs say that expanding the current Test programme had been specifically rejected for established annual international competitions and challenges the balance between club and Test rugby.

Premiership Rugby and the LNR are also upset at not being involved in the latest discussions.

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