World Rugby holds 'positive and productive' talks over international rugby shake-up

Ireland and England contest a line-out during the 2018 Six Nations
The 2019 Six Nations starts on Friday

World Rugby say "positive and productive" meetings have taken place as rugby union bosses plan a radical shake-up of the international calendar.

A number of union and competition chief executives met in Los Angeles to explore further how to "invigorate" the Test game.

Administrators are concerned about the lack of competitiveness and commercial potential of international rugby.

The formation of a new annual competition is being discussed.

The competition would be played between Rugby World Cups.

"Following positive and productive meetings with union and competition CEOs in Los Angeles, World Rugby has been tasked to continue exploring the viability of potential global competition formats," said a World Rugby spokesperson.

It is understood the unions present were unanimous in their desire to continue to explore new ways to increase the viability of international rugby, especially in the June and November windows, without devaluing the Six Nations, the Rugby Championship and the British and Irish Lions.

However while World Rugby sources have been encouraged by the progress made, it is believed some unions, such as England's RFU, remain sceptical about the possible dismantling of the status quo, and are still to be convinced.

In attendance in LA were representatives from all Tier One rugby countries, as well as Six Nations chief executive Ben Morel, Andy Marinos of Sanzaar (the body which operates the Rugby Championship and Super Rugby), and Lions boss Ben Calverly.

The World Rugby spokesperson added: "The objective of this exploratory work is to deliver a global competition product and commercial model that will deliver greater value and certainty to all unions by building on the strong foundations of existing competitions and invigorating the July and November windows.

"World Rugby would like to thank the stakeholders involved for their contribution to this important project that has the clear potential to enhance the international game for unions, players and fans."

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