Ireland could get relegated from Six Nations under new proposals
World Rugby is about to shake the shit out of this snow globe.
Amid talk of a 12-team World League and grumblings from players and representative from, in particular, the Pacific nations, World Rugby has moved to clarify their new plans.
'The World League', which was mooted in leaked reports published widely last week, is no more. say hello to 'The Nations Championship'.
As the video below explains, there will be three divisions in this new, global championship and there will be promotion and relegation. There will be two conferences - European and Rest of the World - with divisions of varying strength in each.
Were the championship to be held this year, for example, the European conference would contain the sides competing for the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. The Rest of the World conference would comprise of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and the next two sides from the world rankings lists - Japan and Fiji.
However, with promotion and relegation making this a fluid competition, it could mean that any of the big hitters could be relegated. That, of course, includes the likes of Ireland and England.
Ireland finished with the 'wooden spoon' in consecutive Five Nations championships from 1996 to 1998 and, as recently as 2013, finished five out of six. England's last bottom-place finish was in 1987.
The side finishing bottom of future Six Nations championships (in the European conference) would then play a relegation playoff against the division two winners. It would be likewise in the Rest of the World conference.
At the end of the initial phase of play, teams from both conferences carry their points total over with them. They then play three teams from the rival conference and the top two sides from each conference play in an end-of-year semi-final and final.
World Rugby has moved to clarify the organisation’s position on the merits and structure of a Nations Championship concept in advance of key meetings in Dublin next week. pic.twitter.com/NlefufHdxf
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) March 6, 2019
The International Rugby Players Association will meet with World Rugby next Monday before they, themselves, meet for a council meeting. That meeting will get input from the likes of Johnny Sexton, Owen Farrell and Kieran Read.
IRPA chief executive Omar Hassanein said: “Our players are incredibly passionate about having their voices heard, not just in relation to the proposed international season, but in respect of all player issues that impact the men’s, women’s, 15s and 7s game."
Nice proposal, but there will be many battles had before this one can ever dream of going through. Even if it does, 2022 is the likely kick-off date.