BREAKING: New ‘World 12s’ tournament announced

World 12s is a new rugby tournament that’ll bring together the best teams in the world for a 12 on 12 format. The game is hoped to bring an additional £250m revenue into rugby. Robert Rees brings you all you need to know.

World 12s announce big names

Some big names have been announced already from an off-field perspective with former All Blacks’ World Cup winning coach Steve Hansen already an ambassador.

“It’s going to bring so many positive changes to enhance our game, it will have speed, physicality and skill. Similar to T20 cricket it will create an excitement that we are missing at present.”

It isn’t a branch of World Rugby, but it’s own ltd company.

Same laws, fresh idea

It brings together the best of both the XV’s and Sevens format of the game.

World 12s will follow the current laws of 15s, but with a few exciting adaptations:
• 12 players in a team – six forwards and six backs
• 15-minute halves
• Conversions will be drop goals only
• Only one scrum reset, followed by a free kick
• Scrum infringements are penalised by a differential penalty (a penalty that cannot be kicked at goal)
• In the knockout stages, if matches are tied at full time, a golden point will decide the winner

How does it work?

For the 2022 men’s tournament, eight franchised teams will play each other once in a round-robin format. There will be seven round-robin match days, where four matches will be played per day. The knockout stages will be split into semi-finals day, and a finals day to decide how teams are ranked from first to eighth.

Each squad will be made up of 24 players. To help boost the development of the global game, each franchise will be required to select at least two players from Tier Two nations as well as one international Under-20s player.

Discussions continue with key stakeholders, but we see late August/ early September being the suitable window to host this three-week tournament in 2022. World 12s aims to complement the existing global rugby calendar.

This does mean it’ll clash with pre-season prep and early season matches, something clubs may take a disliking too if it means they lose out.

England to host inaugural tournament

The plan is to move the tournament to different global locations each year. It is anticipated that England will be the first host nation in 2022.

Who are the teams?

The eight franchised teams will be decided by auction which will take place later this year. The franchised teams will be determined by geographical location and subject to World 12s criteria, with a keen focus to develop homegrown players as well as improve participation from emerging nations.

Players will be selected via auction. The player auction will follow a similar format to the draft seen in cricket’s IPL or The Hundred.  The eight franchised teams will be able to buy players to make up their team. More information about the franchise and player auctions will be announced in due course.

The auction is planned for early 2022.

A women’s calendar is also envisioned from 2023.


Keep up to date with any advancements on Last Word on Rugby’s website or social media channels.


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