World Rugby has approved plans to set up a new international league competition as part of part of a radical shake-up of the global calendar.

The bi-annual tournament is to be launched in 2026 and will be made up of two divisions of 12 teams, with promotion and relegation commencing from 2030. Matches will be staged in the July and November international windows.

In addition to a competition that has been tentatively named the ‘Nations Cup’, World Rugby’s council has given the go-ahead to the expansion of the World Cup to 24 teams in time for Australia 2027.

The revised format will consist of six pools of four teams and will see the creation of a round of 16 to take place before the quarter-finals.

The top two teams from each group will automatically qualify, as well as the best four third-placed teams.

Even though the number of sides is to be increased, the adjustment means the World Cup can be reduced from seven to six weeks from October 1 to November 13, 2027, while providing the same number of minimum rest days.

The draw for the next competition will take place in January 2026 in the hope of avoiding the lopsided groups seen in France over the last two months.

As part of the changes, the international window for November has been lifted from three to four weekends and the Six Nations will lose one of its fallow weeks.