Daily Telegraph rugby writer Gavin Mairs has a crazy idea for the Six Nations rugby competition ...

The romantics among us are already predicting a Grand Slam showdown on St Patrick's weekend in Dublin between Ireland and England - but just imagine how exciting Super Saturday would be if a relegation dogfight was also on the line?

Picture the scene. Italy, inspired by the fresh-thinking of former Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, travel to Murrayfield on the back of a sensational victory over France in Rome, knowing that a win could see the Azzurri leapfrog les Bleus at the bottom of the table.

France meanwhile host Wales, knowing that only a four-try bonus point would be enough to guarantee their place in next season's Six Nations. Nerves would be shot across the continent, before Eddie Jones's side stepped foot on the Aviva Stadium turf.

It won't happen, of course. The Six Nations committee have already confirmed this week that the prospect of promotion and relegation to the championship is not on the agenda, for the medium term at least.


Yet this is short-term thinking.

Rugby is on the march across Europe. The European club game has already embraced sides from outside of the elite in a bid to broaden their competitive base, and the Six Nations and European national sides would benefit from even the incentive of a possible gateway to the financial riches of the championship.

Georgia is among those countries who could benefit enormously from that chance, followed by Romania, Russia and Spain. Georgia have been consistently building a case for a shot at the big time, winning the European Nations Cup (Six Nations B) for the last six years, while their Under-20s side are now also a competitive side.

Many of their senior professionals ply their grade in the Top 14, spearheaded by Mamuka Gorgodze or "Gorgodzilla", as he's affectionately known, one of the stars of the 2015 World Cup in England.

Despite a defeat by Scotland last autumn, Georgia (12th place) today still rank above Italy (13th place) in the World Rugby rankings and just four places behind France.

Tbilisi would also make for a superb new destination on the Six Nations circuit, just as Rome has done since Italy's inclusion in 2000. Last March, when Georgia host Romania at the National Stadium in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, the match drew a crowd of 50,000.

The Six Nations argue that it is not specifically their job to grow the global game - that is up to World Rugby - and you can understand why the financial implications of opening up the closed shop are a strong deterrent.

But that is to ignore the fact that the tournament itself could become stronger, more vibrant and attractive to broadcasters and sponsors, if it took the jump by even considering a two-legged play-off between the side that finishes bottom of the Six Nations and the European Nations Cup champions.

Not only would the business end of the tournament become critical, not just for those going for the title, but by tapping into new markets would infuse the old championship with a new lifeblood.

In these days, when the global heavyweight of American football is trying to establish an ever-increasing presence in the European sports market, nothing is gained by standing still.