The Kiwis had championed the creation of a new cross-hemisphere
Nations Championship, with the winners and runners-up in Europe's Six
Nations taking on their southern counterparts in an expanded six-nation
Supporters said the plan would generate much-needed television
revenue, make mid-year tests more consequential and bring Pacific Island
nations and Japan into regular competitions.
However, a controversial idea to introduce promotion and relegation
to both championships was met with trepidation from unions who would run
a huge financial risk if teams were relegated.
"Creating a new international competition was always going to be a
challenging conversation for world rugby nations," NZR Chief Executive
Steve Tew said.
Praising World Rugby's efforts to get the deal through, Tew said: "We
sought to find a model that balanced demands of fans, with the welfare
of all players, growing the commercial strength of our competition and
ensuring we were providing a pathway for other nations."
He urged national unions not to give up on plans to overhaul the
game, and said the southern hemisphere would try to find "opportunities
for Pacific unions and emerging nations to grow the game".
"While there were some serious issues to be resolved, such as the
varying positions on promotion/relegation, New Zealand Rugby remained
committed to continuing dialogue to see if these could be overcome for
the greater good of the game," he said.