World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has called a meeting to discuss the future of the international game amidst controversy over plans for a World League. Representatives from all tier-one countries, along with Fiji, Japan, and the players’ union, will gather in Dublin later this month.
A statement released by Beaumont read: “In light of continued speculation and commentary, I am convening a meeting of chairmen and CEOs from tier-one unions, Fiji and Japan, and player representatives in Dublin later this month to consider the way forward for an annual international competition.
“Contrary to reports, no decisions have been made. This is an ongoing and complex process with multiple stakeholders, some with differing views.
“Only by working together in the interests of the global game can we achieve something truly impactful in this important area for rugby’s future global growth.
“I look forward to a constructive debate with my colleagues and productive outcomes.”
England captain Owen Farrell and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton are among the game’s biggest names to have warned of serious player welfare and integrity concerns over World Rugby’s proposed new competition structure.
A new global season is due to kick off next year, running until 2032, while discussions have also taken place about a new World League that would combine 12 international sides from both hemispheres in a competition running through summer and autumn and culminating with play-offs and a final.
Top Pacific Islands stars will vote on whether to boycott the 2019 World Cup over the World League plans. World Rugby is understood to be ready to omit Pacific Island nations Samoa, Tonga and Fiji from the competition, which could launch as early as 2020.
The Six Nations Test teams and the Rugby Championship nations would be joined by Japan and the United States under World Rugby’s latest considerations. Promotion and relegation has been mooted to hand tier-two nations like the Pacific Islands and Georgia the chance to step up, but the competition could also be ringfenced for 12 years at a time.
Meanwhile, Dan Carter’s return to French rugby and old club Racing 92 has come to a grinding halt after the legendary out-half failed a fitness test. The former All Black’s return was announced by the Top 14 club last month after he was granted a release by his Japanese club, Kobelco Steelers, to replace recently retired South African Pat Lambie. But the French club announced this morning Carter’s return has been cancelled.
“As part of routine medical checks prior to the approval of players’ licenses, Racing 92 forwarded certain medical information to experts appointed by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby,” said the statement.
“Their opinion was unanimous — Dan Carter will not be able to play rugby in France. We are very disappointed, of course. The law is harsh, but it is the law and we don’t compromise players’ health.
We wish Dan the best for the future, a future at the same level of his immense career.
Racing 92 didn’t reveal the exact reason for Carter’s failure. Carter won the World Cup twice with New Zealand in 2011 and 2015 in a 112-Test career spanning 12 years after he made his debut in 2003. He went on to become the game’s top international scorer with 1,598 points.
After leaving the All Blacks at the end of 2015 to join Racing 92, he guided his new club to a Top 14 title the following year. In three seasons, Carter earned 445 points in 58 games and also helped them to two silver medals in the European Champions Cup. At the end of the 2017-18 season, Carter left the club to join the Kobelco Steelers in Japan, who he also guided to a Top League title before being named the tournament’s MVP