In addition to the 6 Nations Tournament for the Northern Hemisphere and the Rugby Championship for the Southern Hemisphere which are contested every year, World Rugby decided and validated this Tuesday, October 24, according to information from Midol, the creation of a brand new competition, the Nation Cup. This tournament, which will take place every two years to avoid an overloaded schedule during the World Cups, will arrive in the rugby landscape from 2026.
This new tournament was not really a foregone conclusion and it was France who swayed the decision. The reason ? It only took 13 votes against to invalidate the project and France, holder of 3 votes, could change the decision if it did not win its case on an adjustment to the timetable. Because yes, if this tournament is perhaps a good thing in particular to help small nations progress (explanations of the rules just below), it implies a change of calendar. Initially, the initial text imposed seven additional duplicates. This almost meant the death of the LNR, which we did not want,” said FFR president Florian Grill on Tuesday, quoted by Midol. “This is what the negotiations focused on yesterday (among other things). Monday) until late evening and again this morning. We wanted adjustments to the text, we got them. We therefore gave our green light this Tuesday at 8 a.m..” The agreement reached is now based on the extension of the autumn international window, offset by the reduction in the window granted to the 6 Nations Tournament, reduced from seven to six weeks
What are the rules?
The Nation Cup is in a way similar to the Nations League in football with two divisions and a relegation and promotion system to allow real mixing. For the first edition, the “first division” of the Nations Cup will bring together the countries of the 6 nations: France, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and those of the Rubgy Championship: New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina. Two nations will be invited, Fiji and Japan. The second division will be made up of nations currently ranked 13 to 24 in the World Rugby rankings: Portugal, Georgia, Samoa, Tonga, Uruguay, United States, Spain, Romania, Namibia, Chile, Canada, Hong Kong.