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Wales close to playing in new international competition

Rugby bosses will hold discussions later today over a proposed new tournament that could potentially have a radical impact on the international calendar. Representatives from the Six Nations, Sanzaar (South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina Rugby) and World Rugby, will meet in Dublin to try and finally nail down the plans, which could potentially see the introduction of a new biennial north v south competition from 2026.

The concept is not a new one, with a previous attempt to form a Nations Championship failing, but we appear to be reaching decision time. Twelve nations would take part, with Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy joining South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Fiji and Japan. It’s believed that the emerging nations are in favour of the idea, and will likely sacrifice annual fixtures with tier one nations to launch a global second division in 2024. This would contain the likes of Georgia, Spain, Romania, Portugal, the Netherlands, Samoa, Tonga, Namibia, the United States and Canada, according to the Times.

Early indications suggest the competition would be held in even years, avoiding the World Cup and British & Irish Lions tours. The schedule would then reach a climax in late November with a grand final and promotion/relegation play-off.

Crucially, membership of the Six Nations would be unaffected.

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