Rugby union launch bizarre competition that appears to rival rugby league

A sensational new 12-a-side rugby union competition has been proposed to take place in England next August.

‘The World 12s’ is a new tournament made up of 192 players who will be chosen via auction to represent eight franchises, with the competition taking place over three weekends in a round-robin format before a knockout competition.

“World 12s is a natural evolution for rugby union,” said the organisation’s chairman, Ian Ritchie.

“We feel that this is a game for our changing, fast-paced world that can excite a global fanbase in the way that we have seen with the IPL [Indian Premier League] or most recently The Hundred in cricket.”

Ex- chief executive of the Rugby Football Union Ritchie will be joined on World 12’s board by former Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies and ex-New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew.

It is hoped a quarter a billion pounds will be raised for the sport via the World 12s, with equal prize money for men and women.

World Rugby have also waded into the debate.

“We are aware of the proposed new World 12s competition,” World Rugby 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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