World Rugby has reportedly settled on a preferred option for a proposed new league of nations that could change the international game.
The Daily Telegraph have reported that rugby’s leading nations have reached consensus on the preferred model to explore moving forward, though the proposal still has to undergo a feasibility study before being approved.
The proposed format would see rugby’s top 12 nations will all play each other once a year, with the top four advancing to the playoffs where an annual champion would be crowned.
“The premise is we need to generate more money for the international game and the more meaningful those games are, the more likely they are to generate broadcast revenue so we’re doing an exercise in the viability of a broadcast uplift in those fixtures,” World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper told The Daily Telegraph.
“It just makes sense and it would seem to be the time to do this and there’s a consensus and a desire to try and do that.
“It’s not just Australia, everyone can do with more revenue in this area and the sport deserves to get the value it can get for those fixtures.”
If the preferred format goes ahead, the top six teams from the northern and southern hemispheres would play each other during the year, with results counting towards the 12-team league ladder.
The Rugby Championship and the Six Nations would contribute to the tournament while the north-south crossover fixtures would take place in the July and November test windows.
The new format could spell the end of three match tours to ensure each fixture mattered.
“The team coming South would have to play three [different] teams, but it’s making sure each game count towards an end that is more interesting to the fans, and therefore a more viable product,” Gosper said.
Although the details are still to be worked out, the most likely starting date for the new competition would be 2020 and tours by the British and Irish Lions would continue.
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