Nations Championship: Six Nations bosses have 'open mind' on new world league

Brodie Retallick
England's defeat by New Zealand in November was the first time the nations had played each other since 2014

Six Nations officials will attend a meeting in Dublin with an "open mind" as the concept of a Nations Championship hangs in the balance.

World Rugby wants to introduce a 12-team league from 2022 in an attempt to revamp the international calendar.

The new format would require promotion and relegation from the Six Nations, which has so far been strongly opposed.

But a source said they would go to next week's meeting "with an open mind and the interest of the game at heart".

Media playback is not supported on this device

Danny Care needs some help with the proposed World League. Chris and Ugo oblige.

While the Six Nations has yet to comment, it is understood a number of the home unions hold reservations about the Nations Championship, with the Irish and Scottish unions the most sceptical.

English rugby also remains unconvinced, with sources at both the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership clubs concerned by how the plans could contravene the binding San Francisco agreement of 2017, when a new global calendar was officially mapped out until 2032.

The Premiership clubs will not attend the summit, but are an important stakeholder given they effectively own England's leading players.

England captain Owen Farrell has already voiced his concerns on welfare grounds and the potential conflict with the clubs, who would again have to adjust the domestic calendar if the Nations Championship goes through.

England captain Owen Farrell
Owen Farrell was joined by Ireland's Jonny Sexton and New Zealand's Kieran Read in voicing concern about the plans

"We've always had an open mind, but we still have questions that need answers," said an RFU source.

However Italy head coach Conor O'Shea has become the first leading Six Nations figure to publicly throw his support behind the plan.

O'Shea's Italy would be most at threat from a Six Nations promotion and relegation system, but the former Harlequins boss says the tournament could benefit the global game.

"It brings that element of competition and it's a great way to see progression within the game," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"On the face of it I think it's a really good step forward and a really exciting concept."

Top Stories