French federation president, Bernard Laporte has flouted the idea of a radical annual Club World Cup featuring 20 teams from around the globe.
The competition could see the end of the European Champions Cup in order to create space in the already cluttered calendar. The idea will be put to leading unions this week as part of an effort to boost rugby’s finances.
Laporte, who is vying to be World Rugby’s vice-chairman next month, has been formulating the plan alongside Bill Beaumont, since the World Cup last year.
The Club World Cup, part of their manifesto before the World Rugby elections next month, would involve four pools of five teams, made up of four from the Premiership, the Pro14 and the Top14, six from Super Rugby and one each from the USA and Japan. The tournament would take place over six weeks – every year except for World Cup years.
Based on the results from 2019, we take a look at what the potential pools would look like if the competition was played this year.
Saracens, Toulouse, Leinster and the Crusaders won the Premiership, TOP14, PRO14 and Super Rugby respectively and would each be placed in a Pool of their own.
The finalists from each of those leagues would then also be placed in their respective pools but would not feature in the same pool as the champions of that league.
So Top Seeds: Saracens (Pool A), Toulouse (B), Crusaders (Pool C) and Leinster (Pool D)
Second Seeds: Glasgow Warriors (Pool A), Jaguares (Pool B), Clermont (Pool C) and Exeter Chiefs (Pool B)
The remaining teams would then filter in with no country represented twice in one league where possible. There will be a case where a country would be represented twice like in our proposed Pool D where Leinster and Ulster would both be representing Ireland in Pool D.
The likes of Kobe Kobelco Steelers (Top League Champions) and the Seattle Seawolves (Major League Rugby Champions) would also filter into the pools without being in the same pool.
The four sides from France would be the four semi-finalists with the same applying in the Premiership and PRO14.
Meanwhile, the Super Rugby teams would consist of the two finalists, the conference winners at the end of the round robins and the top-ranked sides thereafter. In this case: The Crusaders and Jaguares (finalists), Brumbies (Australian conference winners), Hurricanes, Sharks and Bulls (highest-ranked sides after the Conference winners).
The teams would only face off once during the pool stages with the Pool winners would progressing to the semi-finals of the Club World Cup with the winners proceeding to the final and the losers to the third-place playoff.