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The drums of doubt and derision continue to beat loudly concerning World Rugby's plan for a 12-team "Nations' Championship," which would unite the Six Nations with the four team southern Rugby Championship plus Japan and the USA into an every two-year global contest.
Most pointedly, New Zealand Rugby and Australia took direct aim at the inclusion of the USA into this twelve-nation mix. The proposed American entry revealed the two-facedness of World Rugby's decision-making process; it wants to commercialize the league (USA a bigger market than the three Pacific Island nations) but also aims for meritocracy of performance. The Eagles 32-25 loss to Uruguay in Seattle last weekend (dropping them to 15 in world ranking) indicated the on going, Tier 2 standing of rugby in the USA.
Judgmentally, the concept for this revolutionary change in existing championships (constituting also economic threat to the quadrennial Rugby World Cup) is World Rugby's attempt to take over the global commercialization of rugby. Its key target is the successful, independent, and popular European Six Nations, a private organization.
By demanding relegation as a crucial feature of the proposed World League, it would open the prospect of one of the six nations (England, France, Wales, Ireland, Italy, and Scotland) disappearing from the world's rugby stage. This would be untenable to Six Nations whose rivalries date back to 1881 when Scotland played England. What kind of contest would a future Six Nations look like if it were composed, hypothetically, of England, Wales, Ireland, Georgia, Spain, and Russia? Who would be attending the Stade de France to watch a relegated French side play Belgium in a second tier European Championship?
Agustin Pichot, Vice Chairman of World Rugby, recently announced he would resign if the Pacific Islanders were excluded from this "Nations' Championship." But where was Pichot when the original plan was drawn up?
No one among the decision makers - unions, players, and clubs - perceives this World Rugby initiative has any meaningful value. It's universal thumbs down.