Chairman of World Rugby Sir Bill Beaumont insists "no decisions have been made" regarding their controversial ‘World League’ plans.
Reports earlier this week suggested the new format would be a 12-team competition, starting in 2020, containing the sides from the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, plus the two best-ranked teams from outside those competitions, therefore not guaranteeing Pacific Island involvement.
Several reports indicated the competition would be ring-fenced for 12 years – preventing new teams entering for over a decade – although World Rugby have since said promotion and relegation will be a feature.
In a statement, Beaumont insisted nothing is set in stone, saying: In light of continued speculation and commentary, I am convening a meeting of Chairmen and CEOs from tier one unions, Fiji and Japan, and player representatives in Dublin later this month to consider the way forward for an annual international competition.
Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made. This is an ongoing and complex process with multiple stakeholders, some with differing views.
Only by working together in the interests of the global game can we achieve something impactful in this important area for rugby’s future global growth.
I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes.
Following the release of World Rugby’s plans, players from the Pacific Island nations – Fiji, Samoa and Tonga – threatened to boycott the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Leading Test players from around the world, including Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton and Kieran Read, also hit out against the World League proposal.