Report: Six Nations and Rugby Championship in talks over new competition

Rugby’s top-tier unions apparently discussing ‘less demanding’ global Test championship.

6 November 2019 Steven Impey

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Rugby union’s northern and southern hemisphere superpowers are reportedly in talks over the creation of a new annual Test competition, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

The ten unions which make up the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship, the sport’s top two national team tournaments, are reportedly holding discussions around combining both events into a global championship.

According to the Mail, the Rugby Championship’s organising body, Sanzaar, could also extend an invite to Japan to participate in an expanded Rugby Championship, having cut Japan’s only franchise, the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, from Super Rugby, its international club competition, after next season.

It is not clear how a deal would take shape if Japan were to join the competition, or how their inclusion would impact a revised rugby calendar. Meanwhile, proposals for a new format are apparently less demanding than World Rugby’s failed pitch earlier this year.

The game’s global governing body had to abandon plans for a combined international tournament played during the November Test window and featuring a play-off final between the winners of both tournaments back in June.

The blueprints tabled by World Rugby included a framework to expand the Rugby Championship to six teams, including Japan and Fiji, as well as the inclusion of promotion and relegation between two respective second-tier competitions.

Despite securing a guaranteed UK£6.1 billion (US$7.8 billion) investment from Infront Media, World Rugby withdrew its plans due to reservations among several Six Nations unions, centred around the risk relegation would pose the grassroots game, while player workload and welfare were also cited as issues.

That decision to abandon came amid ongoing negotiations between the Six Nations unions and CVC Capital, centred on the private equity firm investing UK£300 million (US$386.60) for a 15 per cent share of the European tournament.

Rugby union’s northern and southern hemisphere superpowers are reportedly in talks over the creation of a new annual Test competition, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.

The ten unions which make up the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship, the sport’s top two national team tournaments, are reportedly holding discussions around combining both events into a global championship.

According to the Mail, the Rugby Championship’s organising body, Sanzaar, could also extend an invite to Japan to participate in an expanded Rugby Championship, having cut Japan’s only franchise, the Tokyo-based Sunwolves, from Super Rugby, its international club competition, after next season.

It is not clear how a deal would take shape if Japan were to join the competition, or how their inclusion would impact a revised rugby calendar. While proposals for a new format are apparently less demanding than World Rugby’s failed pitch earlier this year.

The game’s global governing body had to abandon plans for a combined international tournament played during the November Test window and featuring a play-off final between the winners of both tournaments back in June.

The blueprints tabled by World Rugby included a framework to expand the Rugby Championship to six teams, including Japan and Fiji, as well as the inclusion of promotion and relegation between two respective second-tier competitions.

Despite securing a guaranteed UK£6.1 billion (US$7.8 billion) investment from Infront Media, World Rugby withdrew its plans due to reservations among several Six Nations unions, centred around the risk relegation would pose the grassroots game, while player workload and welfare were also cited as issues.

That decision to abandon came amid ongoing negotiations between the Six Nations unions and CVC Capital, centred on the private equity firm investing UK£300 million (US$386.60) for a 15 per cent share of the European tournament.