Georgia’s ambitions to feature in future editions of the Six Nations appear a distant prospect after the competition’s chief executive John Feehan said “there is no vacancy”.
Italy’s two heavy defeats against Wales and Ireland to open their 2017 tournament have raised doubts about the Azzurri’s ability to remain competitive.
Georgia – above Italy in the world rankings – are widely considered to be front of the queue to replace Italy or become an additional seventh team should the opportunity arise.
On Saturday, Georgia’s representative on the World Rugby council, George Nijaradze, insisted his nation was ready to enter the Six Nations, but any hopes seem short-lived after Feehan’s comments.
“It is a closed competition, owned and controlled by the six unions concerned,” he told the Daily Mail.
“There is no vacancy. Right now we are perfectly happy that we have the six strongest teams in Europe in our competition.
“Are we closed to every scenario? No, but it takes a while to see a convincing argument – 10 or 15 years. We have to take a good, considered view about what is right for our six unions.
“They would all have to agree that this is what they want. At this stage, talk of bringing in other teams is premature.
“World Rugby have no input into this tournament,. They have no control over it, no ownership of it. It’s not theirs to tell us what to do with it.
“It is World Rugby’s job to develop the game. Our job is to run the Six Nations as we see fit. Do the unions have a responsibility to help develop and expand the game? Probably, yes, but should that go as far as messing with the most important tournament? Probably not.
“Our primary role is not to develop other unions but if we can help, we do.”