The Rugby Championship could expand in 2021 with the inclusion of the likes of Fiji, Japan and the USA.
Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle said on Friday that Sanzaar had been working on new models for the southern hemisphere competition in case the World Rugby Nations Championship was scrapped.
World Rugby confirmed earlier this week that the plans for the Nations Championship had been discontinued as a unanimous decision could not be reached.
The SANZAAR nations responded to the news with a statement saying a “golden opportunity to grow the game” was missed.
‘Certainly what the World Rugby Nations Championship has done with this project is allow us to think outside the box about different things, around the calendar, the timing, inclusion of different teams, all of those things,’ Castle told rugby.com.au.
‘It’s allowed the Sanzaar nations to think about the expansion of the Rugby Championship, how that would work from a team participation point of view, a commercial sustainability point of view, how does it work to grow the reach of the Rugby Championship, and one of the options is the expansion of the Rugby Championship. But no final decision has been made.’
The changes that would be part of a new broadcast deal from 2021 could include expanding the tournament to include Fiji, Japan or even the USA.
‘Certainly, when you think about the considerations of what the criteria would be for any team to join the Rugby Championship, there’d be a number of factors,’ said Castle. ‘One of which would be commercial returns, one would be the ability to perform and be a real competitor inside a Rugby Championship competition, one would be their own high-performance structures and whether or not they are capable of delivering consistent world-class players to play at the international level, their own facilities and environments that they have around stadia and those types of things.’