21 Jun 2019

Fiji to join Rugby Championship?

8:47 am on 21 June 2019

Fiji and Japan could be welcomed into an expanded Rugby Championship after World Rugby abandoned its plans to create a global Nations Championship.

Fiji fullback Osea Waqa challenges the French defence.

Fiji fullback Osea Waqa challenges the French defence. Photo: Leo Galletto/World Rugby

The Nations Championship was scheduled to begin in 2022 and would have taken place in traditional competitions like the Six Nations and Rugby Championship, as well as during existing Test windows, with the top two teams meeting in the final at the end of the year.

SANZAAR and New Zealand Rugby chair Brent Impey has expressed disappointment at the decision saying a golden opportunity to grow the game had been lost.

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle says SANZAAR could now look at expanding the Rugby Championship.

Castle isn't ruling out Japan and Fiji joining southern hemisphere heavyweights Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina - the four semi-finalists from the 2015 World Cup - joining the Rugby Championship (TRC).

"Certainly what World Rugby Nations Championship has done with this project is allow us to think outside the box about different things, around the calendar, the timing, inclusion of different teams, all of those things," she said in a conference call on Thursday.

"It's allowed the SANZAAR nations to think about the expansion of TRC, how does that work from a team participation point of view, a commercial sustainability point of view, how does it work to grow the reach of TRC, and one of the options is the expansion of TRC but no final decision has been made."