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Nations Championship semi-finals scrapped

16 March 2019

World Rugby has also said it will work closely with worldwide players and domestic clubs competitions in an effort to "optimise the model" for a new league and is committed to investing in a Women's Nations Championship.

"The proposed format would be underpinned by a record commercial partnership with leading global sports marketing company Infront‚ guaranteeing nearly £5 billion (R96 billion) for investment in the sport over an initial 12-year period (of which more than £1.5 billion (R28.8 billion) is guaranteed incremental revenue for the world game)".

This would bring each nation an increase to its annual revenue of £100-130 million.

The statement said the business model covers media and marketing rights but no equity in the competition is up for sale meaning "full control of the competition and its revenue redistribution model would be retained by the unions, the current major competitions and World Rugby".

The original concept for the Nations Championship, which reportedly proposed a 12-team global league - including the Six Nations, Rugby Championship teams as well as Japan and the U.S. - received pushback from fans, players and unions.

World Rugby first published its plans for a revised Test calendar last week, explaining how the Six Nations and an expanded Rugby Championship would shape two group stages culminating in an extended autumn series that features two semi-finals and final.

"The players feel that the existing understanding between World Rugby and the Players should evolve from a loose commitment to consult, to a requirement to reach agreement on certain key issues", De Villiers said.

Infront's Christian Mueller believes his company's offer can provide the financial security to grow the game globally.

Top players pre-empted the meeting in Dublin by demanding a seat on World Rugby's executive committee, and the governing body responded by pledging to work with the International Rugby Players organisation and club bosses over the proposals.

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"Everyone, not just the established teams, will benefit, accelerating the development and competitiveness of the global game".

"We are encouraged that the format revisions and robust financial model has been well-received".

"World Rugby has been working very hard on finding a solution that ensures the future growth of the game in New Zealand and around the world, including the Pacific", Tew said.

"These are exciting but complex discussions which require us to strike a balance between doing what's best for fans, Australian Rugby as well as the global game, and the players".

"We know how passionate rugby fans are and we want to ensure accessibility for fans globally, supporting World Rugby's vision to continue making the game a sport for all".

"We have an opportunity to change the landscape of the game for the long-term betterment of all unions".

It wasn't so much a climb down as a jump to the left for World Rugby who announced slight amendments to their proposed Nations Championships on Thursday.

It is understood that the Irish and Scottish unions in particular remain fiercely opposed to the new model which would involve Six Nations promotion and relegation. "Only by keeping the best interests of the global game at heart will we be able to achieve something truly impactful for the future success and sustainability".

"We want to ensure that there will be no repeat of the current situation and that the frustrations over the lack of player consultation are addressed", said Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones.

Nations Championship semi-finals scrapped