World Rugby reveals Nations Championship plans

By Sports Desk March 14, 2019

World Rugby has outlined its revised proposal for an overhaul of international rugby union, including details of its Nations Championship concept.

The sport's governing body presented its plans to major stakeholders in Dublin on Thursday.

A subsequent statement detailed a "game-changing" new competition, the Nations Championship, which would see promotion and relegation from its three divisions.

World Rugby says the competition would bring a commercial deal with sports marketing company Infront which would guarantee "almost £5billion for investment in the sport over an initial 12-year period".

It added that revisions had been made to a previous proposal in September last year.

There would be no semi-final stage and players would play 11 Nations Championship matches, which would rise to 12 if a team reached the final.

World Rugby promised to work with the International Rugby Players (IRP) and leading figures in the club game on the format, while investing in a Women's Nations Championship.

Player of the year Johnny Sexton had been among IRP council members who last month raised concerns about reported changes to the international game, including the introduction of a World League.

World Rugby responded then by saying its "commitment to player welfare matters is unwavering".

In Thursday's statement, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "I would like to thank my union, competition and player representative colleagues for their candid, constructive and positive contributions.

"There was strong recognition that World Rugby's Nations Championship proposal, based on a true pathway for all, has been developed with great care, extensive evaluation and with the global game at the forefront of our thinking.

"We are encouraged that the format revisions and robust financial model has been well-received."

He added: "As you would expect in an ambitious, complex and multi-stakeholder project, not everyone is in full agreement on the way forward, including the matter of promotion and relegation, but we will continue to engage and consult."

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