Top rugby stars have slammed plans to launch a world league

06 March, 2019, 08:27 | Author: Greg Lawrence
  • World Cup 2019 will be held in Japan later this year

Captains of nine of the world's top 10 nations, including Wallabies' skipper Michael Hooper, were among the players speaking on a conference call set up by the International Rugby Players (IRP) council to discuss the likely impact of the planned World Rugby Nations Championship.

"Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made", Beaumont said in a statement.

Council President and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton said: "While players gave this idea a cautious welcome when we met at the end of previous year, it now seems like a commercial deal on the future of the game is being negotiated at a rapid pace with little consideration given to the important points we raised [with World Rugby] in November".

"I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes", said Beaumont.

The so-called "League of Nations" is seen as of particular potential benefit in the southern hemisphere, where rugby economies have been struggling.

It is being reported that the United States of America and Japan would join the Rugby Championship quartet of Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and face England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales - the Six Nations teams - in a league that will play out in non-World Cup years.

Rugby Australia was not immediately available to comment.

Reports said "Tier Two" emerging European and Pacific nations would be excluded from the competition for at least 12 years, prompting a robust response from their players and a denial from World Rugby, who said nothing had been decided.

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Top Pacific Islands stars will vote on whether to boycott the 2019 World Cup over World Rugby's controversial World League plans.

"We're a tight-knit bunch and I dare World Rugby to test us on that".

"It is obvious that here in New Zealand we are under pressure to retain our top talent as the global player and coach market continues to be challenging".

A gradual climb on the world rankings following a string of positive results against tier one sides - including a landmark 21-14 win over France in Paris previous year - has seen the Fijians in ninth place, higher than Argentina (10), Japan (11), the US (13) and Italy (15), all of whom are included in the World League plans. "After that sort of sadness just kicked in really into what the sport has become and it's really the true colours showing through of what the governing body's motivations are", he said.

'The two-division competition would provide more player opportunities and ensure financial stability for unions. We don't have the commercial audience size that World Rugby wants to put into place for this competition, we don't have that. "If you are going to grow the game surely you want as many of these countries in as possible?"

The game's powerbrokers discussed the proposed competition during a World Rugby meeting in Los Angeles in late January, several media outlets have reported.

Nichol said the competition isn't in the best interest of global rugby.

"While these discussions are progressing with representatives from World Rugby and the National Unions in the room, nothing has been agreed or finalised".

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