What is the “World League”, this new rugby competition which could see the light of day in 2026?

Jean-Baptiste Sarrazin

A new rugby competition could see the light of day as early as 2026. According to the Anglo-Saxon newspaper “Telegraph”, the leaders of world rugby are about to set up a new international league in which the nations of the southern hemisphere and of the northern hemisphere would clash. It would take place every two years in place of the July and November tours. The World Cup and the Six Nations Tournament will not be impacted by the establishment of this League.

Will world rugby undergo a major overhaul? According to information from the Anglo-Saxon newspaper The telegraph, the leaders of World Rugby would work on the establishment of a new international competition. It would take the form of a League, with two groups of six teams in each hemisphere. The North group would be made up of the current VI Nations teams (France, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Italy), while the South group would see Japan and Fiji join the Rugby Championship teams (New Zealand, Australia , South Africa and Argentina). This competition would thus include 12 world nations, the twelve which currently dominate world rugby.

Every two years, from 2026

This new competition would radically redesign, remove the July tests from November and could even close the VI Nations Tournament, still according to the Telegraph. The project is currently in a “final consultation phase” and only needs the green light from clubs and player representatives to see the light of day. The World Rugby body, which governs world rugby, to formalize this novelty just before the World Cup in France which is due to start in September.

The Rugby League could be set up as early as 2026 and would take place every two years. The rulebook produces teams from the northern hemisphere playing three southern opponents away in the month of July. The return meetings would take place in November. This would end the traditional three-week tours against a host country. The two best-performing teams from each pool would face off in a grand final, while the other nations would compete in ladder matches. Matches would be held on a rotational basis, with all teams meeting in a two-year cycle.

A second League from 2030

The establishment of this League would close the door to second-class nations and rising nations such as Georgia or the United States. And for good reason, there would be fewer meetings between the nations of level 1 and 2. The evocation of a system of ascent and descent would also be under study. But promotion and relegation could only be granted from a Tier 2 competition involving countries like Georgia. This second League would only see the light of day from 2030.


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