World Rugby plans for bumper Test window

Newly re-elected World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont has announced plans for a global tournament which could feature two consecutive months of Test rugby.

Planet Rugby reports that Beaumont – who was re-elected to his position over the weekend – is keen to resurrect the plans for an annual Nations Championship-type of tournament which would allow for promotion and relegation.

Beaumont, along with former vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, were the drivers behind the Championship before it was scrapped in 2019.

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Away from the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, there are currently Test windows in July and November which allow for tours to the southern and northern hemispheres in line with an agreement signed in 2017.

‘I think there could well be an appetite for putting the two windows together,’ Beaumont said. ‘It could be north going south in one month and then immediately afterwards the south would come north the next month. But bear in mind we have to take all stakeholders with us. You have to take the club game and European game with us.’

Beaumont stressed that the Six Nations would not be expected to change dates, but revealed that initial talks had already begun with representatives from both hemispheres as well as the International Players’ Union.

‘What we will try to do is bring in a new competition that keeps the Six Nations [as] a standalone competition but there could well be an instance that in the Nations Cup, maybe not all the Six Nations teams are playing at the top level.

‘Sitting below that you could have a subsidiary competition featuring emerging nations and you could well have promotion and relegation. We have to find funding that will enable this emerging nations tournament to take place.

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‘I do think there’s an appetite from the Six Nations to look at the Nations Cup. Nobody has ever mentioned to me that the Six Nations would move timescale but, in my opinion, what would move is July and November.

‘Why would you move the Six Nations? It is not affecting anyone else’s window on the global calendar. It’s a six-week tournament that has been played in February/March since I was a lad.’

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