Autumn Series: Friendly fire will be as keenly felt as ever

There will be plenty at stake for both teams and players with a World Cup looming

Joey Carbery and Kieran Marmion will look forward to gaining valuable international game time in their respective positions over the next month. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Joey Carbery and Kieran Marmion will look forward to gaining valuable international game time in their respective positions over the next month. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

When World Rugby’s vice-chairman Agustin Pichot and CEO Brett Gosper recently described non-tournament Tests as “friendlies”, it was a decidedly disingenuous description, and Pichot ought to know that as much as anyone.

Sure, it was in the context of promoting an annual 12-team international tournament, which would entail scrapping the June and November Test tours. Based on football’s new European Nations League, Pichot and Gosper want the top 12-ranked countries to contest an annual tournament hosted on an alternating basis in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

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