Rugby prepares for launch of 12-team global Test championship

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont

Rugby union is set to undergo a major shake-up as World Rugby is planning to introduce a 12-team Test Championship from 2020.

The top brass of World Rugby met in Sydney last week and according to a report from The Sunday Times it is understood that vice-chairman Agustin Pichot has been pushing for the concept that could take place in July and November.

The 12 teams is likely to be divided into two divisions with six teams from each hemisphere - England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales from the North and South Africa, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand from the South along with most probably Japan and Fiji.

The report also further added that a promotion and relegation concept will be in place with the second division comprising of teams from Georgia, Romania, Spain, United States, Russia, Tonga and Samoa.

The Sunday Times also reported that the competition will be conducted for three years between the World Cups and the World Rugby has already started looking into the commercial aspect of it including the sponsors and broadcasting deals.

Earlier, at the conclusion of last week's meeting, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said the governing body discussed on the aspect of making the game global with July and November windows.

"Building on the solid foundations of the San Francisco calendar agreement, I believe the time is right and the opportunity exits to do something really impactful that injects further excitement, significance and value into the international rugby between Rugby World Cups for the benefit of all," Beaumont said in a statement.

"In line with this objective, we are examining models to maximise the potential of the July and November windows without changing the framework of the San Francisco agreement."