World Rugby have defended their plans of the new Nations Championship they are set to launch in 2022.
Many players have criticised the new plans including Leinster and Ireland fly-half Johnathan Sexton. However, rugby’s governing body has hit back on Wednesday defending the plans in which other players have also criticised. They defended their plans regarding player welfare and have said that the offer on the table is for a two tier competition which will also include promotion and relegation. World Rugby has announced plans for the Six Nations sides to join the Rugby Championship teams plus two tier two nations. These games would be penciled in over the Autumn and Summer months.
The statement from World Rugby said “World Rugby has moved to clarify the organisation’s position on the merits and structure of an annual global competition in advance of key meetings in Dublin next week,” The statement said further “As the international federation for the sport, World Rugby is committed to the global advancement of rugby and its character-building values to build a better, stronger game for players, unions, clubs and fans. On the issue of player welfare this was also addressed “Player welfare is fundamental to our sport. Within the original proposal, players would play a maximum of 13 matches if their team reaches the final, compared to an average of between 12 and 14 Test matches presently. Most teams would play 11 matches.”
The statement continued to proteCT the Six Nations, Rugby Championship and British and Irish Lions as “protected as jewels in the calendar”, World Rugby explained plans to host the new competition fully in two of the four years in a World Cup cycle.
The top two teams from each conference would play cross-conference semi-finals before a grand final.”Growing the sport’s fan base through more compelling competition is also vital as broadcasters will only pay more for a product that fans want to see,”
Several players like Johnathan Sexton, Owen Farrell and Kieran Read criticised the plans citing player welfare issues, in addition the Pacific Island teams of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga are also said not be to impressed due to not been included in the plans. World Rugby are set to meet again next week to discuss the latest proposals.