World Rugby has given its Six Nations and Rugby Championship member unions an extra week to consider its Nations Championship concept.
The unions were originally set a deadline of Friday to sign up to a period of due diligence, which would allow a mutual look at the books. That would not commit any union to joining the Nations Championship, which World Rugby would like to start in 2022.
The governing body has now extended that deadline by a week as it looks to ease the doubts of some of the unions.
However, the Daily Mail reports that a hard deadline of 21 May – the date of World Rugby’s next council meeting – has been set for plans to be universally ratified. Should the unions still not agree to the plans by then, the concept could fall through entirely.
The Nations Championship concept, which would bring a drastic change to the current Test window, involves the Six Nations and Rugby Championship being supplemented by Tests between the southern and northern hemisphere teams, eventually resulting in a final.
Further, the Nations Championship would be underpinned by a second division made up of current tier-two nations, who would be given the chance of promotion against the Nations Championship’s bottom-placed team.
The Six Nations unions are against the issue of relegation due to the potential financial impact it could have on the home unions.
World Rugby believes the Nations Championship could produce a potential £5-billion (approximately R92-billion) over 12 years.
World Rugby’s proposed Nations Championship structure:
Following positive meetings with rugby’s major stakeholders in Dublin today, here is the proposed Nations Championship format. pic.twitter.com/7lOzBgHWC7
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) March 14, 2019
Photo: Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images