Italy vs France in Six Nations rugby in Rome

Six Nations trophy

In addition to that anticipated hammer blow for the Nations Championship however, International Rugby Players has now voiced further concerns ahead of the key meetings.

"The players. want to work with World Rugby, unions, provinces and clubs to genuinely explore what may be possible", he said.

Major unions and the worldwide players' union are meeting in Dublin this week to discuss a new Nations Championship concept but club representatives have not been invited.

Worldwide rugby's leading players have demanded a seat at the negotiating table as the game's global body attempts to hammer out a way forward for the test programme.

Top players across the world are more attuned to their own welfare and safety than ever before.

"We want to ensure that the players have independently appointed representation on the World Rugby executive committee and other key decision-making bodies".

PRL and LNR added the world governing body had broken an agreement which was reached in January 2017 about future plans for the worldwide game running until 2032.

The leagues had hinted they might pursue legal action to protect their interests but today's announcement from World Rugby to remove semi-finals could make such a move less likely.

"I would like to thank my union, competition and player representative colleagues for their candid, constructive and positive contributions".

World Rugby insists a majority of teams would play fewer Tests under the proposed new structure which officials believe will lend fresh impetus to the existing global calendar.

World Rugby has launched a defence of its under-fire Nations Championship concept, insisting the proposed annual tournament can earn the sport £5billion in 12 years.

"There was strong recognition that World Rugby's Nations Championship proposal, based on a true pathway for all, has been developed with great care, extensive evaluation and with the global game at the forefront of our thinking".

But in a joint statement Premiership Rugby of England and their French counterparts, says their clubs feel World Rugby's proposal runs against what was agreed for a long-term vision at a meeting of major stakeholders in San Francisco in 2017.

"The proposed business model covers both media and marketing rights but does not include any sale of equity in the competition and therefore full control of the competition and its revenue redistribution model would be retained by the unions, the current major competitions and World Rugby", their statement reads.

The two competitions claimed that the proposed multi-tiered Nations Championship goes against an agreement among stakeholders two years ago to cement the global rugby schedule through until 2032, by including more tests in November and December.

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