The World League train continues to gather steam, with New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew revealing the concept could be put to broadcasters and sponsors early next year.

The vision of World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot for the top-12 ranked nations to play off over both hemispheres in the rejigged July and November windows may undergo further tweaking, but it now seems top brass are increasingly committed to pushing this model through.

Based on football's new European Nations League concept, rugby's equivalent would see teams split into four groups of three teams to contest an annual prize; the theory being this would generate more interest and, thus, more revenue.

The latest concept was presented to national chief executives at a World Rugby meeting in Dublin last Monday.


"We've agreed the concept has enough promise to keep going," Tew said.

"We've always said we'd like the calendar to be better utilised in terms of value, and, so, if there is a concept we think can work, and it does increase value for everybody and ticks some other important boxes like bringing tier two countries into the mix more often, then we're supportive of that.

"At this stage it looks like it can do that but there's still work to do."

Pichot's initial, radical concept, pitched to start from 2020, appeared to leave tier-two nations - those ranked outside the top 12 - largely out in the cold.

Tew indicated amendments have been made, possibly in the form of a promotion/relegation playoff system.

"We've got that on our radar. There needs to be an opportunity for the developing countries to become mainstream at some point in time when they're good enough."

Clearly the attraction with this proposed tournament style structure is the drive for revenue.

Revenue-sharing as it stands, with host nations retaining their gate, has always been a particular frustration for Tew. The All Blacks have gaining nothing from being the star attraction up north and selling out Twickenham overnight.

That much won't change.

"We don't think it's as fair as the Northern Hemisphere does but that's not a starting point for this discussion.

"The starting point is if we use the window better can we generate more revenue than we do now. Then you can discuss how you divvy up the incremental revenue rather than attack the existing model because that's not on the table.

"There's a whole series of things. At the moment over 50 per cent of the internationals that are played each year are without any meaning other than ranking and your own pride.

"Clearly there's a big bunch of undervalued games that if you could put more meaning into those, logic would suggest they would be more valuable when you go to sell them for broadcasting, sponsorship, fans, the lot."

Critics of the proposal argue this concept threatens to devalue the prestigious World Cup, held every four years and the cash cow for the international game.

"The fact World Rugby are leading the work would suggest they've got that on the radar but they also see it also an opportunity not a threat."

Outside consultants have been hired to continue pushing forward at pace.

"Work is accelerating and we're all conscious of timetables. It's always dangerous to put timelines on these things. We'll have another report early in the New Year and we'd like to be testing some of the valuations in the market in the first quarter of next year as well."

Tew, meanwhile, had no firm plans to meet with New Zealand-born Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, a firm contender to be the next All Blacks coach, while in Dublin.

"Not this week, no, I'll leave him to it but we might have a beer after the game.

"He's yet to declare what he wants to do post Rugby World Cup. What I would say is we are always talking to a number of New Zealanders who coach in the international and club game. Our high-performance guys are in constant communication because we want to keep our people in our frame.

"We've got an open mind to get the person for the job within reason but Steve Hansen hasn't made his decision. If we're going to go to the market, we'll be ready."