Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Rugby’s newest competition, World Club Cup, takes big step forward — report

The world's top 16 club and provincial teams could be going up against each other from 2028.

If rugby bosses agree to all the terms and conditions, fans can look forward to the first World Club Cup taking place in 2028, with the best teams in the northern hemisphere taking on the best in the south over a month once every four years.

That is the plan, according to a report in Britain’s Daily Mail, with rugby bosses pushing for many years for a club world cup type of competition, as there is in football.

Best from north and south

According to the publication, an agreement of understanding has been reached between the rugby bosses in the northern hemisphere, whose club competitions usually wrap up in June, but they appear satisfied and willing to shift the domestic and club finals to May, to allow for the inter-hemisphere club competition to take place in June.

The customary tour of the southern hemisphere rugby countries by the northern sides every year in July will continue in that window.

Super Rugby sides

The competition is slated to include 16 teams: the best eight sides playing up north, drawn from the Champions and Challenge Cups (that is, from the United Rugby Championship, the English Premiership and French Top 14), plus the six best teams from Super Rugby — three from New Zealand and three from Australia, as well as the two best teams from Japan.

If the competition were to take place this year then the Bulls from South Africa would be involved, as they are the only local team to have qualified for the Champions Cup (top tier) quarter-finals (last/top eight).

The Daily Mail reports that a second-tier competition, running at the same time and known as the Super Challenge Cup, is also in the works.

It is not known how player representative bodies, such as South Africa’s MyPlayers, who look after the welfare needs of professional rugby players, would feel about a new competition, which would mean more rugby in an already crowded and a highly demanding schedule.

Currently the top South African rugby players based in the country are involved in the URC, Champions or Challenge Cup competitions, as well as the Currie Cup, and some also the Springboks during large periods of the year.