World Rugby is set to reject a proposal which would see smaller nations compete in a plate competition alongside the main event at future World Cups.
The proposal would have seen all teams compete in the pool stage but once the knockout rounds begin the sides who did not qualify for the main competition would compete in the plate knockout rounds. World Rugby are rejecting the proposal in favour of extending the number of teams to 24 from the 2027 competition which will be held in Australia.
Many argue that nations such as Georgia and Portugal will never be able to reach their full potential unless they are allowed to compete with the elite on a frequent basis as the Six Nations is a closed league with no relegation or promotion. The new Nations Championship, which is set to involve the world’s 12 leading sides and commence in 2026 with no promotion from the second tier on offer in the competition before 2030 at the earliest.
The 2023 World Cup has seen Ireland beat Romania 82-8 with Scotland and South Africa beating them 84-0 and 76-0 respectively. New Zealand beat Namibia 71-3 with France beating the same side 96-0. These scored show the huge gulf in class between the elite sides and those that do not compete as frequently.