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Sydney summit feels like a pivotal moment in rugby’s modern history | Robert Kitson

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Agustín Pichot’s plan for a World League would reinvigorate an international scene under threat as the clubs wield their power

Not for the first time the world of international rugby union is holding its breath. As outlined to the Guardian a fortnight ago, World Rugby’s vice-chairman Agustín Pichot believes significant change is required for the global game to flourish financially and his proposed solution will be debated in Sydney this Wednesday. Should he gain sufficient support, it will spell the end of the traditional matrix of June and November tour fixtures.

Pichot and his supporters want to see a new “World League” run along similar lines to European football’s new Nations League, rather than the current succession of (so-called) “friendlies”. The top 12 sides in the world rankings would be split into pools potentially hosted in alternate years by the northern and southern hemispheres, with three pool games for each team, followed by semi-finals and a final. Five huge weekends in total, with shared television rights, would lend an extra “edge” (to use Pichot’s word) to some previously mundane fixtures.

Related: RFU ‘frustrated and perplexed’ at Agustín Pichot’s attempts to reform rugby calendar

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