World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper says a proposed World League would be a two-division competition.
There was a furious reaction following a report in the New Zealand Herald that revealed details about World Rugby’s plans for a new 12-team Test tournament, which would include the Six Nations teams, Rugby Championship teams, as well as the USA and Japan.
The International Rugby Players Council also highlighted a number of concerns in the proposed competition, including player workload, and a boycott of this year’s World Cup was mooted by the Pacific Rugby Players Welfare organisation.
Much of the ire surrounded talk that the new tournament would have no promotion-relegation system, with fears that the Pacific Island nations, in particular, would be left out in the cold.
However, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Gosper said this would not be the case.
‘The two-division competition would provide more player opportunities and ensure financial stability for unions. Importantly, participation will be merit-based, based on rankings at an agreed time.
‘Therefore there is no question of closing out the Pacific Islands as we would be adding two more emerging unions to the top table while financing a second-tier competition with all the benefits that would bring to the players.
‘This is a rapidly evolving on-going conversation with all stakeholders and some of the concerns voiced were inaccurate and out of date.’