Club World Cup talks underway as rugby moves towards global calendar
We could yet have the likes of Saracens playing the Waratahs and Leinster facing Crusaders.
Talks and plans are well underway for a Club World Cup that will feature rugby's best sides from both hemispheres going head-to-head.
The news was confirmed by outgoing EPCR chairman Simon Halliday, who suggested the competition - like the Rugby World Cup itself - would be held every four years.
Halliday, who served two terms as chairman of the body that oversees the Champions and Challenge Cups, says the plan for future European competitions would see less pool games and a longer knock-out stage.
Once every four years, as the current plan goes, the latter stages of the Champions Cup would be replaced by this Club World Cup, featuring top sides from the New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Argentina and, possibly, the Super Rugby sides from Samoa and Fiji. South African sides, of course, will be eligible for the Champions Cup from next season.
This expanded club competition is part of ongoing chats of a global rugby calendar that has the same start and end date in both hemispheres. As part of his outgoing statement, Halliday declared:
"EPCR has signed a new eight-year agreement which I believe is a triumph of negotiation and shared objectives between the leagues and unions of Europe.
"This will guarantee the long-term future of both the Heineken Champions Cup and the EPCR Challenge Cup. At the same time, this will create clarity for the international and club calendar.”
"From this new agreement, we are now working on the participation of the South African provinces and building towards a Club World Cup every four years which would replace the latter stages of the Heineken Champions Cup.
"Together with our improved formats, reduced pool matches and more knockout rugby, EPCR is in a great position to grow."
No further details on dates, competition structure, qualifying requirements or clubs involved was provided. One suspects there is still plenty of talking to be done.
From the EPCR perspective, that ball passes - albeit on an interim basis, for now - to Anthony Lepage, who has been appointed chief executive while a recruitment process goes through the gears.
WATCH HOUSE OF RUGBY U.R.C HERE: