The International Rugby Board are discussing the possibility of staging a World Series played over two years between the world’s ten leading nations.
New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, England, Wales, France, Ireland, Scotland and Italy are reported to be the 10 teams identified to compete for the R146 million prize the IRB are reportedly willing to pay the champions. The IRB has identified 2010 as the potential starting date for the series.
The UK’s Daily Mail reports that the series will start as a round-robin competition, the sides playing each other once, with all Six Nations games and some Tri Nations results counting towards the World Series. Argentina would play matches against South Africa, New Zealand and Australia when they’re not involved in Tri Nations Tests, while Tests between the northern and southern hemisphere nations would take place in the June and November Test windows.
To circumvent the challenge of some teams only playing four home Tests, proposals for the bonus point system to include an extra one for an away win, are under consideration.
At the end of the two-year period the top-placed nations would play each other in a one-off game to claim the title of World Series champions. The 90 000 seater Wembley Stadium in London is being touted as the most likely venue for the final.
An IRB spokesman told the Daily Mail: “A lot of goalposts will need a lot of shifting if the World Series is to get off the ground before the next World Cup in 2011.
“It’s a complex jigsaw with a lot of obstacles to be overcome but the idea is taking shape.”
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw lent his support to the concept.
“If it’s done right it could add something to world rugby, it could be a real spectacle,” McCaw told the NZPA.