Deal or no deal. In or out. By this time next week, World Rugby's grand vision should have its answer.

The World Rugby council, due to meet on May 22 in Dublin, will vote for or against the proposed Nations Championship.

By now the World League/Nations Championship saga may make eyes glaze over but, one way or the other, this decision will shape the future of the global game.


Unfortunately for Sanzaar's southern hemisphere nations, desperate to boost revenue streams, the concept in its current form seems destined for the dustbin.

World Rugby's potential £10 million (NZ$19.6m) carrot in additional annual revenue for leading nations over the next 12 years is unlikely to be enough to counter self-interest from the Six Nations block.

Relegation remains a sticking point, particularly for the Irish and Scottish unions, and so resistance to change is expected to prevail.

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Should that transpire, World Rugby must accept its share of blame for a missed opportunity.

From the outset their proposal lacked detail and, more importantly, the proper consultation.

Leading players were among those blindsided by plans for a global 12-team league, sparking widespread criticism from Kieran Read to Johnny Sexton.

It was a line-in-the-sand moment. No longer will players accept schedules mapped out without their input, and rightly so.

Had due diligence been properly carried out prior to announcing plans, support may have been easier to garner.

Since accepting feedback on the proposal, World Rugby has, to its credit, made amendments such as ditching the semifinal stage to minimise player welfare concerns.

Numerous issues remain, though. Perceived encroachment on the English and French club seasons would probably need significant financial compensation. Support also appears limited among second- and third-tier nations.

There is a chance the concept will be given further time to find a solution, but given both hemispheres halted broadcast negotiations until this meeting, time is scarce.

Should this concept fail to proceed, the big losers are Sanzaar.

This was a chance to address wealthy inequalities the north enjoys through greater population and stadia.

Eventually Sanzaar, the poor cousins, and their conveyor belt of talent shipped north every year will start to seriously bite.

Losing players en masse is simply not sustainable.

Classy Springboks first-five Handre Pollard is the latest scalp, off to cash-in at Montpellier after the World Cup.

No one can blame Pollard considering the conversion rate from the euro to the rand, but we can also see the impact in erosion of depth here. First-five stocks are limited. So, too, locks and fullbacks.

Eleven All Blacks have already committed their futures abroad from next year and while that is not unusual in World Cup year, it does not bode well for the future of Super Rugby.

Broadcast interest in Sanzaar's competitions is said to have sparked due to the potential threat of losing out to a global rights holder – InFront Sports in the Nations Championship's case.

Longer term, though, the penny will inevitably drop that the quality of competitions in the south is diminishing with the continued and collective pillaging of leading players from all four member unions.

Then the revenue squeeze could really hit.

As for the north they, too, face a defining moment.

Get on board the global train or, more likely, jump at offers to sell a sizable portion of the Six Nations crown.

CVC's £500m bid comes with the caveat of a 30 per cent share, while IMG have also tabled a £1.75 billion investment proposal.

Hocking off a major slice of the jewel in northern hemisphere rugby would bring a loss of control and, ultimately, uncertainty for the future.

But it also brings instant gratification, and in the short term more money to spend on recruits.

That path is much more palatable than helping the south in any way.