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Castle backs global Test rugby revamp

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle is optimistic a touted Nations Championship, combining northern and southern hemisphere competitions, will go ahead.

Castle backs global Test rugby revamp

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle is optimistic a touted Nations Championship, combining northern and southern hemisphere competitions, will go ahead.

A touted annual global championship has the in-principle support of all 12 leading rugby nations according to Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle, who hopes the initiative doesn't lose steam amid the red tape to come.

The Nations Championship would involve the top-12 Test nations playing for points during the existing northern and southern hemisphere competitions, the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, before meeting for a two-week finals playoff in November in Europe.


A promotion-relegation component tying in a second division would also encourage emerging nations in a format which Castle said would create interest in Tests that had been irrelevant at times previously.

Castle met other rugby executives late last month in the United States for a discussion she labelled as "momentous" for the code.

"It just brings together two things: value for every Test match ... with my (the fans') country, but also Italy playing France might be important because I need to know whether they win or lose to see how I end up," she said.

"We're just making sure that every Test match played is relevant so that interest grows."

Castle said potential broadcasters had indicated they "would pay more for this type of joint competition" and any argument of it devaluing the World Cup wasn't valid.

"It's just not (like the World Cup) though; you're talking about Test matches all over the world in different locations - one Test match, as opposed to a World Cup where all the countries are gathered in one location, so I don't even think they're comparable," she said.

Castle said the challenge was keeping the project's moving pieces intact.

"What is it they say about time kills deals?" she mused.

"I think that's where we're at and it's not the sort of thing you'd want to float on forever in a day.

"But at the same time, everyone needs a high level of comfort, because you've got 12 countries with 12 different governance and approval systems.

"It's a complex piece of work that's happening but the important thing is that ... there's a view that, in principle, it's something that they definitely want to pursue."

Castle said a precise launch date and how the global event would fit in a World Cup year were still to be determined.

AAP


AAP




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