Six Nations-SANZAAR new rugby competition



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New rugby competition planned Image: Coliseum GSVA

A new biennial international rugby competition featuring teams from the Six Nations and the Southern Hemisphere is set to start in 2026.

‘AP’ stated that Six Nations Rugby and SANZAAR – the organization which includes South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Argentina said recently that they are working on a new competition to take place in the existing July and November international windows.

The Six Nations Championship is an annual international men’s rugby union competition between the teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The current champions are Ireland, who won the 2023 tournament.

Sydney (Australia)-based South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina (SANZAAR) is the body which oversees Super Rugby and The Rugby Championship competitions in rugby union. SANZAAR meets annually and is composed of the head honchos from its member-unions.

The Super Rugby is a men’s professional rugby union club competition involving teams from Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. It previously included teams from Argentina, Japan and South Africa.

The Rugby Championship is an international rugby union competition contested annually by Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. These are the four highest ranked national teams in the Southern Hemisphere. The Six Nations is a similar tournament in the Northern Hemisphere.

‘AP’ further stated that it will feature all the Six Nations teams – England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales – and SANZAAR teams, with two further spaces reserved for invitational unions to join the Southern Hemisphere group.

Organizers said the competition would provide “a stronger narrative around the July and November windows” that would “excite players and bring new fans to the game”.

The Six Nations Rugby and SANZAAR will own and operate the competition, which will take place in alternating years, between the British and Irish Lions tours and the Rugby World Cup.

The British and Irish Lions is a rugby union team selected from players eligible for the national teams of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The team currently tours every four years, with these rotating between Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in order.

The Rugby World Cup is a men’s rugby union tournament contested every four years between the top international teams. The tournament is administered by World Rugby, the sport’s international governing body.

Dublin (Ireland)-based the World Rugby is the world governing body for the sport of rugby union. The World Rugby organizes the Rugby World Cup every four years, the sport’s most recognized and most profitable competition. It also organizes a number of other international rugby competitions.

The new competition will not affect the club calendar and organizers insisted players had been heavily involved in the process, amid growing concerns over burnout and calls for greater focus on rest and recovery periods between domestic and international commitments.

Alongside the new competition, World Rugby is set to also create a second-tier competition made up of teams from Europe and the rest of the world, which will eventually allow for promotion and relegation matches.

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