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Tomorrow, May 22, 2019, will feature a debate concerning the future of international rugby as the 51-member World Rugby council meets to discuss the parent organization’s proposal of a new, 12-team Nations Championship.
If approved, the new event would commence in 2022, comprised of the Six Nations, the four Rugby Championship southern hemisphere fifteens, and two other countries. The teams would compete against one another with one match during the year. The two fifteens that finished at the top would then play for the title.
There exist four significant negative reasons among certain nations to reject this World Rugby proposal:
- It demands relegation annually. The team on the bottom of the league would drop out of the event, which, possibly, for one European country, would also be leaving the profitable and popular Six Nations tournament to play in the secondary European division;
- Which two teams would be selected as the 11th and 12th sides? Originally, Japan and the USA were listed as filling out the League. This decision generated undesirable response since it was not based on World Rugby’s own rankings (where Fiji was 11th), and vaulted second tier USA into the mix, solely, it seems, under the continuing World Rugby delusion that there is unmined rugby gold in America;
- Complaints from the Players Union of excessive (and tiring) travel throughout the year but especially in July; and,
- The Nations Championship would dilute substantially the role, prestige, and profitability of the quadrennial Rugby World Cup.
The deadline for decision-making is sometime in June.