Sir Bill Beaumont: World Rugby chairman to revisit plans for Nations Championship
Former England captain has been re-elected as the chairman of World Rugby
By Dan Sansom
Last Updated: 04/05/20 6:32am
Sir Bill Beaumont wants to introduce a variation of the Nations Championship following his re-election as World Rugby chairman.
Initially scheduled to launch in 2022, the Nations Championship was intended to revitalise traditional tours with a new tournament in which the top 12 international sides from both hemispheres would play each other annually, with the two best teams contesting a final.
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Those plans were dropped last year when some Six Nations unions were opposed to the idea of promotion and relegation. However, Beaumont, who will stay as the head of the governing body after fighting off challenger and former vice-chairman Agustin Pichot, has pledged to revisit them.
At his first press conference since his re-election, Beaumont said: "We will also be looking at the global season, maybe looking again at a variation of the Nations Championship.
"That was one of the big regrets that I wasn't able to put away, but we have learned from that experience.
"Out of that, we need to take more heed of the players. I am committed to getting the players involved in any decision that we make. My job is hopefully to get consensus from everybody in the game.
"What we will try and do is bring in a new competition that keeps the Six Nations as a standalone competition and there could well be for instance, this is my own view of it, that in the Nations Cup, maybe after a while not all the Six Nations are playing in that competition at that top level."
Beaumont revealed plans for a global season are in the early phases of discussion, and says the coronavirus pandemic has encouraged the idea that the northern and southern hemisphere campaigns should align with each other.
"These are very much in the embryo stage at the moment. People are talking because what has stimulated the debate is the position regarding this year," he said.
"The north go south in one month then immediately afterwards the sides would go north. We have to bear in mind that we have to take all stakeholders with us.
"In the north we have to take the club game with you, we have to take the European game with us. We are in dialogue with all the stakeholders. It's more problems in certain areas when you have more stakeholders."
Robertson to chair governance review
Meanwhile, British Olympic Association chairman Sir Hugh Robertson has been selected to lead an independent governance review of World Rugby.
Former Conservative MP Robertson was previously sports minister during the London Olympic Games, and Beaumont said of his appointment: "I am fully committed to undertaking a wide-changing governance review and I am quite happy to announce that Sir Hugh Robertson will chair that governance committee."
Will Greenwood says rugby must make long-lasting positive changes and not "waste this opportunity" to make the sport "a truly global game" after Beaumont's re-election.
"I think six or seven months ago people would have expected Bill Beaumont to be ushered in and a slow change to start taking place - if any at all," said Greenwood.
"I think there is a real duty of care from the World Rugby council now to try and get people around a table, to have the clubs involved, to have a better structured club game that has player welfare at its heart. There has an annual international calendar that has some sort of story behind it as opposed to a hotch potch of games.
"If rugby wastes this opportunity to come together and almost start with a blank sheet of paper and understand what is it that will make this game a truly global game then we may as well pack up and go home."