Auckland - Rugby's major nations have endorsed a 20-team format for the sport's 2015 Rugby World Cup and have offered to play midweek matches to ensure the lower-ranked teams have more time between matches.
Representatives of Tier One nations met on Monday to discuss the format and commercial model for the next World Cup, which will be held in England, broaching issues which recently saw a New Zealand-led threat to boycott the tournament.
New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew has said the All Blacks could consider skipping the 2015 event unless the International Rugby Board addresses concerns around the tournament's effects on test match revenues and sponsorships for member unions. Australia has supported New Zealand's stand.
Lower-ranked nations competing at the World Cup have also attacked a schedule which has given some of them as little as four days between games, while the top tier countries enjoyed longer rest breaks.