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Top rugby nations in talks over new world championship

Cape Town – Plans have reportedly been made for a new global rugby world championship.

According to Britain's Daily Mail website, representatives from the Six Nations, Rugby Championship, as well as Japan and Fiji, met during the Rugby World Cup to discuss a possible new championship.

The discussions were prompted after World Rugby earlier this year scrapped its plans to introduce a Nations Championship.

According to the Daily Mail report, the 10 nations held talks about establishing a new coherent calendar that would see a finals series every two or four years.

Rugby's major nations are said to be eager to build on the success of the recently-completed World Cup in Japan which generated record revenues and television viewing figures.

This proposed championship would see leading teams from the northern and southern hemisphere face each other more regularly.

The report added that the competition would be less demanding on players and would not involve every nation playing each other every year. Tests would be arranged on a bilateral basis and points awarded would count towards a league table, eventually resulting in a playoff stage to determine the winner.

World Rugby introduced plans for a Nations Championship concept in March this year, at the time saying that the championship would include a 12-team league without smaller nations.

But the governing body backtracked on the decision saying it "undertook this important project with the best interests of the global game at heart".

"Despite strong progress in collaboration with unions, competition owners and international rugby players, including full engagement on the detailed process of financial due diligence, a lack of consensus on key issues, particularly the timing and format of promotion and relegation, left World Rugby with no alternative but to discontinue the project, "World Rugby said in a statement.

The new global rugby world championship plan differs from the original World Rugby plan in that the competition would be ring-fenced, with entry limited to the Six Nations (England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France and Italy) and SANZAAR unions (South Africa , New Zealand and Australia), as well as Japan and Fiji.

– Compiled by Herman Mostert

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