The goal is to give the second-tier teams a chance to play with the leaders more often.
The big rugby bosses have been trying for many years to make more and more countries on the world map where rugby is played at a high level and recently presented the concept of the reform of the international calendar.
A new project, the Nations Championship, is being developed right now and is planned to be implemented after the 2023 World Cup.
The new tournament is somewhat similar to the Football League of Nations: the national teams, according to the rating, are divided into divisions of six teams, within which the tournament takes place in one round.
The winners go up, the worst go down a level below. To optimize logistics, the rugby world is divided along the equator into two conferences, respectively “North” and “South”.
In the first draw of the tournament in the top division, the six nations in the north and the Rugby Championship teams, plus Fiji, plus Japan in the south, would play.
The second division in the north would include the USA, Canada, plus four representatives of the European Championship, and in the south: Samoa, Tonga, Uruguay, Chile, Namibia and Brazil.
The third division will be formed according to the residual principle, which countries will express a desire to play, and they will be scattered into groups.
It looks interesting, but … the threat of demotion in the class does not suit the representatives of the Six Nations Cup at all, who stood up like a mountain to protect the interests of poor Italy so that the Azzurri would not stain themselves with meetings with all sorts of Spanish-Portuguese. But that’s exactly the idea of World Rugby. In general, this concept was abandoned.
Now other formats are being considered, which are still dominated by the competition a la last year’s Autumn Cup of Nations, only now in two conferences of 8 teams with mandatory north -south finals at the end.
Again tempting, but in this form, the number of tests of the second-tier teams against the strongest is unlikely to increase.
And even this concept has opponents. Some believe that the annual showdown between the northern and southern hemispheres devalues the importance of the World Cup as the main event in rugby.
World Rugby believes that the introduction of such a tournament will allow to systematize summer and autumn test matches so that all countries have a chance to fight with the strongest and often spar with teams of their level.
The need for more frequent meetings of Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams this year was clearly demonstrated by the New Zealanders, scoring more than a hundred points twice in tests with Tonga and the USA.
It is obvious that if conditional Americans intersect more often on the field with teams of the level of at least the national team of Scotland, then such results will not be repeated in the near future.
But conservative Europe is against such innovations and prefers to play more often inside its cozy borders.