Blues on Blues? Wales’ rugby teams could qualify for Club World Cup against southern hemisphere
Wales’ rugby teams could in the future qualify for a rugby Club World Cup, facing off against teams from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.
The Club World Cup would start in 2025 and involve 16 teams from across both hemispheres, according to the Times newspaper.
It would involve teams from Europe and South Africa that reach the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup against those from the now Oceania-specific Super Rugby. A single Japanese team would also be added.
The competition would replace the knockout stages of the European Cup in years when the British & Irish Lions are touring, and end with a cross-hemisphere final.
The plan is for the competition to start in 2025 when the Lions tour Australia, with a final decision to be made in September of this year.
However, the new cross-hemisphere competition would only include Europe and South Africa’s eight best teams. A Welsh team hasn’t reached the last eight of the Heineken Cup since the Scarlets in the 2017–18 season.
The new club competition would be in addition to the Nations Championship, an international tournament involving the top nations culminating in a grand final between the two hemispheres every two years, which plans to provide more meaningful July and Autumn fixtures in between World Cups.
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