EXCLUSIVE: World Rugby's new Nations Championship is approved
EXCLUSIVE: World Rugby’s new Nations Championship is given the go-ahead by the narrowest of margins in council vote – but some are warning the new international competition will be ‘the death’ of the sport
- A ballot held by World Rugby voted 41 to 10 in favour of the new competition
- Its format will be built around the existing Six Nations and Rugby Championship
- Rugby South America’s chief has warned the league will be ‘the death of rugby’
Rugby’s international landscape has changed profoundly today with the new Nations Championship concept being ratified by the narrowest of margins at a World Rugby council vote in Paris.
Officials from the leading nations and regions have taken part in a ballot to decide if the divisive concept should be approved.
It was part of a motion about a new global season and regulation 9 – relating to player release for Test rugby – and Mail Sport understands that it has been passed.
It required a 75 per cent majority from the 51 council votes and sources have indicated that 41 of the votes were in favour, with just 10 opposing the proposals.
The up-shot of this seismic decision is that, from 2026, there will be a new league structure built around the existing Six Nations and Rugby Championship in the southern hemisphere.
Rugby’s international landscape has changed profoundly with the new Nations Championship concept being ratified by the narrowest of margins at a World Rugby council vote in Paris
World Rugby – fronted by CEO Alan Gilpin (above) – held a ballot which saw officials from the leading nations and regions vote 41 to 10 in favour of the brand new international competition
The league’s structure will be built around the existing Six Nations and Rugby Championship
The counties involved, along with Japan and Fiji, will take part in one-off fixtures during the July and November Test windows, with a grand final to decide the overall winner.
What has caused concern in some quarters is that there will be no system of promotion and relegation until at least 2030, and it is unclear at this stage whether there will be any commercial benefit for those countries locked out of the new event.
In a recent interview with Mail Sport, former Argentina captain Agustin Pichot expressed his staunch opposition to the new competition and the president of Rugby South America, Sebastian Pineyrua, warned that it will be ‘the death of rugby’.
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