Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle has issued the following statement after World Rugby announced overnight that it has discontinued plans for a World Nations Championship after it failed to gain unanimous agreement from the Unions to continue its scoping work for the concept.
“Rugby Australia acknowledges the efforts and leadership of World Rugby in developing the World Rugby Nations Championship concept and acting in the best interests of the game globally.
“These were very complex discussions which needed to balance a number of objectives, including what fans would expect from a global competition structure, commercial objectives, player welfare considerations and providing genuine opportunities for emerging nations to take part in a top-tier competition through promotion and relegation between the two divisions proposed.
“Rugby Australia had committed to find a solution that would work from both a commercial and fan engagement perspective and while we had highlighted some concerns with World Rugby about some aspects of the competition, including the need for the timely introduction of an equitable promotion and relegation system, we were – along with our SANZAAR partners – looking forward to entering the next phase in its development to work through and reach agreement with our colleagues.
“While these discussions have been happening at World Rugby level, we have had a Rugby Australia project group working extensively in parallel with our SANZAAR partners on The Rugby Championship and other international opportunities for the next broadcast cycle. We look forward to continuing our detailed work on this and continuing our positive discussions with our broadcasters,” Castle said.