Sanzaar Six Nations Springbok Springboks

Faf de Klerk against the All Blacks. Photo: EPA

When will new rugby super-tournament launch?

SANZAAR and Six Nations Rugby have unveiled a new international rugby competition to be played in the existing test windows starting from 2026.

Sanzaar Six Nations Springbok Springboks

Faf de Klerk against the All Blacks. Photo: EPA

SANZAAR and Six Nations Rugby are working in partnership, alongside global rugby stakeholders, to forge a new international rugby competition that will be played in the existing July and November test windows.

This is a joint effort by the chief stakeholders.

According to a joint press release, “The creation of the new competition has been a collective process from the sport, including World Rugby, Unions, key leagues, competitions, and crucially, the International Rugby Players.”

New International Rugby tournament coming in 2026

ALSO READ: Eddie Jones issues warning, challenge to Springboks

Set to begin in 2026; the new elite competition will feature each of the four SANZAAR Rugby Championship teams (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) and the Six Nations Rugby sides (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales).

“Two spaces have been reserved for invitational Unions to join the SANZAAR teams,” the statement adds.

“A transparent selection process will be managed by SANZAAR, supported by World Rugby and the International Rugby Players, to determine these two invitational Unions.

SANZAAR and Six Nations preserving existing rugby traditions

Owned and operated by SANZAAR and Six Nations Rugby, the elite competition will take place in alternating years, outside of the British & Irish Lions Tours and Rugby World Cup.

ALSO READ: Bulls land ‘Rocket’ in Pretoria

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 ensuring player welfare has remained a fundamental priority in all decision-making.

SANZAAR Six Nations
Damian de Allende of the Springboks (L) in action during the Rugby Championship Round 5 match between New Zealand’s All Blacks and South Africa’s Springboks. Photo: EPA/DARREN ENGLAND AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT

Two divisions

To strengthen the development pathway for emerging nations, World Rugby will create a second-tier competition featuring teams from Europe and the rest of the world, with SANZAAR and Six Nations Rugby actively involved in cementing the link between the two divisions.

ALSO READ: Road to Rugby World Cup 2023

Establishing the two competitions will pave the way for promotion and relegation matches, contributing towards a valuable pathway for teams. It will support ambitions to sustain and grow the global game.

The introduction of the new elite international competition is a testament to the strong ambition across all parties, motivated by delivering context and a stronger narrative around the July and November windows that can excite players and bring new fans to the game.

ALSO READ: Bulls end contract of troubled Springbok Nkosi

The impact this will have on the game will be to drive its growth and long-term sustainability. This is alongside the work being done to enhance the clarity and balance of the club and international calendars, which SANZAAR and Six Nations Rugby remain committed to assisting with.