Fiji and Japan could be the big winners if the proposed World Rugby Nations Championship goes ahead.
The game’s decision makers are meeting in Los Angeles this week, with the introduction of a global league at the forefront of discussions.
The Times is reporting that the proposed new tournament would see the 12 leading nations play each other once throughout the year, with Fiji and Japan set to join Rugby Championship participants New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina from the southern hemisphere.
The top team from the southern hemisphere would reportedly take on the best of the Six Nations teams, England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, France and Italy, at a neutral venue at the conclusion of the tournament, with Camp Nou – the home of famous football club Barcelona – even touted as a possible finals venue.
The Times also reported that the new tournament would not be staged in World Cup years, while a modified version may occur during the British and Irish Lions tour.
But the biggest shake-up is a proposal for relegation from the Six Nations.
Relegation would work with the bottom-ranked European nation after the championship taking on the winner of the Europe Rugby Championship, with the winner taking up a place in the following year’s competition.