World Rugby respond to plans for IPL style World 12s competition

Organisers intend for 192 players to enter an auction to represent one of eight franchises

The inaugural edition of the proposed Rugby 12s competition would be held in England. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty

The inaugural edition of the proposed Rugby 12s competition would be held in England. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty

 

World Rugby has issued a lukewarm response to the proposed new World 12s competition that is being positioned as rugby’s equivalent to the Indian Premier League and The Hundred.

Organisers intend for 192 men’s players from tier one and tier two nations to be picked via auction to represent eight franchises consisting of squads of 24 who will be overseen by established coaches.

The format will consist of round robin games before a knockout phase determines the winners and the inaugural men’s tournament will be staged in England next August and September with the women’s event launching a year later.

Equal prize money will be offered for both competitions and the expectation is that the World 12s will be staged in different global destinations.

It is hoped that £250million will be generated over the next five years, while also increasing the global appeal of rugby.

Backers for the new concept include New Zealand’s 2015 World Cup-winning coach Steve Hansen, who is a World 12s ambassador alongside ex-South Africa boss Jake White, while former Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie is acting as chairman.

Despite the heavyweight names attached, the sport’s global governing body World Rugby has responded to its launch by questioning how it will fit within the new global calendar which is currently being drawn up.

“We are aware of the proposed new World 12s competition,” a World Rugby spokesperson said.

“While we welcome innovative thinking with the potential to advance the reach, attractiveness and growth of the sport, comprehensive consultation with the organisers is required to understand the viability of the concept, particularly in the context of ongoing global calendar discussions and the priority area of player welfare.”

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