Discussions underway for 12-ranked countries to contest an annual tournament
September 25, 2018 4:26 am
World Rugby will discuss on a new format which is likely to scrap the June and November test matches during its meeting on tomorrow night.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports, World Rugby Vice-chairman Agustin Pichot wants the top 12-ranked countries to contest an annual tournament hosted on an alternating basis in the northern and southern hemispheres.
The teams would be split into four groups of three and the tournament would be played over five dates, with three for pool matches and two dates for the semi-finals and final. A different country would host each pool.
In the current international rankings hierarchy, Fiji, Japan and Tonga would be thrown into the mix, giving those nations much-needed test competition against traditional heavyweights.
Pichot had already pitched the concept to New Zealand rugby boss Steve Tew, French rugby boss Bernard Laporte and South African rugby boss Jurie Roux.
It is designed to tie-in with the international calendar change, which was agreed last year in San Francisco and will see the June Test window moved to July from 2020.
The change will leave the Six Nations (north) and Rugby Championship (south) Test competitions intact but allow Super Rugby to run uninterrupted through till the end of June.
This is seen as a game changer for the SANZAAR nations, who have had to operate a disrupted Super Rugby season around the June window.
But it has put pressure on the English and French club competitions to shift their domestic seasons.