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Six Nations members to probe Nations Championship proposal

Six Nations Rugby, the organising body of the annual European national team tournament, has said it has agreed to conduct due diligence on World Rugby’s proposed Nations Championship.

World Rugby last month released a revised masterplan for its proposed Nations Championship, including details of a lucrative commercial partnership with the Infront agency.

While the major southern hemisphere unions are said to have aligned themselves behind the proposal, the stance of the six unions that compete in the Six Nations – England, France, Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Italy – is not as clear cut.

A decision on the Championship is expected at a World Rugby council meeting on May 22, and while France is said to be in favour, the other five unions are unsure over the proposal.

UK newspaper The Guardian said the Six Nations members will be granted access to commercially sensitive documents to establish the viability of the plan. Six Nations Rugby said in a statement: “The council met today (Wednesday) and discussed the various options available, which involve the future structure and delivery of the championship.

“We will continue our due diligence in relation to the World Rugby Nations Championship proposal. This will be done under a non-disclosure agreement, so we will not be providing any further comment at this stage. We will continue to look at all the other options available.”

These include an offer from CVC Capital Partners, of around £500m (€577.9m/$650.3m) for a 27-per-cent stake in the Six Nations. Three other private equity investment companies are also said to have shown an interest in the Six Nations.