THERE are plans to introduce a new international rugby tournament in 2026.

Six Nations Rugby is working with SANZAAR, the organisation that includes South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina, on a new biennial competition that will take place in the existing July and November international windows.

The tournament will feature all of the Six Nations teams – Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy – and the SANZAAR teams, with two further spaces which are reserved for invitational unions to join the southern hemisphere group.

The tournament will be owned and operated by Six Nations Rugby and SANZAAR and will take place on alternating years, between the British and Irish Lions tours and the Rugby World Cup and Six Nations Rugby states that players have been heavily involved in the process.

A statement reads: “Involved at every stage of developing the new competition has been the international rugby players.

“This connection has been key in supporting the wider conversations around the club and international calendar taking place in parallel, and to ensure player welfare has remained a fundamental priority in all decision making.”

Six Nations Rugby said the tournament would provide ‘a stronger narrative around the July and November windows’ that would ‘genuinely excite players and bring new fans to the game.’

The new competition will not affect the club calendar.

World Rugby is also going to create a second-tier competition that will be made up of teams from Europe and the rest of the world, which will eventually allow for promotion and relegation matches.