Imagine Antoine Dupont, Beauden Barrett and Maro Itoje united in the same team, facing Matthieu Jalibert, Cheslin Kolbe and Will Skelton. This unlikely match today will perhaps take place in the summer of 2022. A project for a new international rugby 12-a-side competition, bringing together the best players in the world, was indeed presented on Tuesday by a private company called World 12s . The inaugural tournament plans to bring together “in August-September 2022” 192 of the best players in the world, divided between eight franchises via an auction system.
Concretely, the game will follow the rules of the XV, with simplifications in particular in melee, but with only six forwards and six backs. Each half will last 15 minutes. Several rugby personalities, including former All Blacks coach Steve Hansen or Jack White, former South Africa coach, are involved in this project.
Rugby’s Brightest Minds.
You love to see it.
— World 12s (@World_12s) September 7, 2021
“Preliminary and informal” discussions with World Rugby, federations, clubs and players’ unions, with a view to integrating this new competition into the world calendar, are still under way but “have been constructive”, estimates World 12s in a report. communicated. The competition, which is to take place over three consecutive weekends, will first be organized in England for 2022 before, in the following years, moving around the world. The female version will be launched in 2023, due to the delay of the Rugby World Cup from 2021 to 2022.
Same “prize money” for men and women
“Each 24-player franchise, coached by some of the best coaches in the world, will play a sort of mini-championship before a final round crowns the champion,” says World 12s. The “prize money” for the male and female teams will be equal and each franchise will have to select at least two players from nations outside the world top 10, as well as an international player under the age of 20 “in order to contribute to the overall development of the world. sport “.
World 12s, including former England Rugby Federation (RFU) CEO Ian Ritchie (chair), New Zealand Federation (NZRU) ex-CEO Steve Tew (non-executive director) and the former president of the Welsh Federation (WRU) Gareth Davies and supported by a British financial consortium, aspires with this new competition to “bring 250 million pounds sterling (or 290 million euros) of new financial resources to the world of rugby at the over the next five years ”.