World Rugby insist they will protect tier two sides in latest Six Nations/SANZAAR venture

 Credit: Alamy

Credit: Alamy

World Rugby will make sure there is promotion and relegation in the new tournament organised by Six Nations and SANZAAR.

The two governing bodies put out a joint statement earlier this month announcing that they plan to introduce a two tier international competition from 2026.

It will replace the July and November Tests and will be owned and ran by those respective governing bodies.

12-team competition

12 countries will take part in the inaugural campaign, which includes the 10 tier one countries from the Six Nations and Rugby Championship and two more, most likely to be Fiji and Japan.

The initial statement also remarked that promotion and relegation would take place but only in 2030, meaning that it will be ring-fenced for four years.

That has drawn huge criticism from around the rugby world, while others simply remain sceptical over the whole idea.

Some have accused Six Nations Rugby and SANZAAR of trying to power grab and protecting the interests of the elite, rather than help develop the game globally.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont has attempted to allay the concerns of the tier two nations by stating that they will make sure their interests are protected.

“There is an enormous collaboration now between the two major entities, the Six Nations and SANZAAR, looking at how they can get closer together regarding the ‘Nations Cup’,” Beaumont told The Breakdown.

“That is something which will definitely happen, but we as World Rugby have to make certain there is promotion and relegation.”

Ownership issues

The problem for the global governing body comes down to the fact that they will not own the competition, which will be the responsibility of Six Nations Rugby and SANZAAR.

World Rugby are due to create the second-tier tournament that will feature countries from Europe and around the world.

“We don’t own the Six Nations competition, we don’t own the Rugby Championship but we can coerce and take people with us when it comes to the ‘Nations Cup’, and that’s what we will be doing,” Beaumont added.

“We have to give the opportunities to countries that sit outside the established tournaments the chance to improve themselves.

“A couple of months ago, I went to Spain for instance. Spain have got a population of about 45 million people, it’s an enormously successful nation at team sports and we’ve got to help them accelerate rugby in that country.”

READ MORE: World Rugby boss Sir Bill Beaumont confirms Rugby World Cup draw changes

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