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New World 12s tournament proposed to launch in 2022

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

02:19 7 Sep 2021


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Plans for a new global 12-a-side rugby tournament have been announced - with organisers claiming it can bring โ‚ฌ290 million into the sport.

Similar to cricket's IPL and The Hundred, World 12s will see players selected through an auction to represent eight franchised teams.

The new international competition hope to get 192 of the worldโ€™s best players to compete across eight teams, who will compete annually around the world in a 12v12 tournament over a three-week period.

A team of 12 will consist of six forwards and six backs for games with 15-minute halves and World 12s will follow the current Laws of 15s, but with a few changes.

Conversions will be drop goals only, while there will be only one scrum reset, followed by a free-kick and scrum infringements are penalised by a differential penalty (a penalty that cannot be kicked at goal).

Each squad will be made up of 24 players and each team will be required to select at least two players from Tier Two nations as well as one international Under-20s player.

The plan is to move the tournament to different global locations each year with England set to be the first host nation in 2022.

Organisers have earmarked late August/early September as a suitable window to host the three-week tournament in 2022 and say World 12s wants to complement the existing global rugby calendar.

The eight franchised teams will be decided by auction which will take place later this year and the plan is for a women's World 12s in 2023 due to the Women's Rugby World Cup taking place in New Zealand in 2022.

Former RFU CEO Ian Ritchie is on board as World 12s chairman, with World Cup winning coaches Steve Hansen and Jake White among the ambassadors on board.

"World 12s is a natural evolution for rugby union," Richie said.

"We feel that this is a game for our changing, fast-paced world that can excite a global fan base in the way that we have seen with the IPL or most recently The Hundred in cricket.

"In bringing together the most exciting players under the stewardship of some of the brightest rugby minds with commercial backing, we are looking to propel rugby forward and lay a positive roadmap for how the game is perceived for future generations.

"Early and informal discussions with World Rugby, unions, clubs and player associations have been constructive, and in announcing today we can continue our consultative conversations and collaborations with the relevant stakeholders."

World 12s also said "informal" conversations with World Rugby, clubs, unions and players had been "constructive".

"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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Ian Ritchie Jake White Rugby Steve Hansen World 12s World Cup

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