Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle has issued the below statement following reports in New Zealand media on World Rugby’s proposed annual international calendar model.

Castle reiterated Rugby Australia’s support for an international competition model that benefits Australian Rugby from a commercial, fan and player perspective and confirmed that it had not yet agreed to any competition format.

“World Rugby and the National Unions have been in discussions over the past six months to find an International Rugby competition format that delivers increased fan engagement and improved commercial opportunities. Rugby lives in a competitive sport and entertainment landscape and it is World Rugby’s role to find options that will help us remain at the very top of that landscape,” she said.

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“Finding options to review that will deliver increased commercial revenues that allow Australia to have a high performing Wallaby team, keep our best talent in the country and invest in community Rugby, are not easy to find but must be explored.

“These exploratory discussions have been robust and complex, with player welfare, the growth of developing nations and protecting the great history of the game front and centre in the conversation. The competition model must provide opportunities for the Pacific Islands nations and other developing nations to continue to grow and compete with tier one nations.

“While these discussions are progressing with representatives from World Rugby and the National Unions in the room, nothing has been agreed or finalised. We continue to work to find a proposal that could have universal stakeholder support, deliver to Rugby Australia’s growth targets and grow International Rugby’s footprint.”