World Rugby’s global calendar overhaul labelled ‘stitch-up’ by smaller nations

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  • Biennial tournament to replace traditional tours from 2026
  • Men’s Rugby World Cup will have 24 teams for 2027 edition

It was described as “a quantum leap” by Sir Bill Beaumont and “the most significant overhaul of international rugby union since the sport went professional” by World Rugby. And, at first glance, the global Test game is indeed about to undergo a glossy‑looking makeover in the shape of a new 12-team men’s biennial tournament, set to replace traditional tours and kick off in 2026.

For smaller nations stuck outside with their noses pressed to the elite salon windows, however, some markedly different views are already being aired. “Stitch-up” and “closed shop” were among the reactions on social media and it is easy to understand the frustration in Portugal, Spain, Samoa, Uruguay and every other smaller rugby country who must wait until at least 2032 before potentially qualifying for the top table.

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Written by Robert Kitson
This news first appeared on under the title “World Rugby’s global calendar overhaul labelled ‘stitch-up’ by smaller nations”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.