Pichot still pursuing Nations Championship

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The plan would have involved the world's top 12 nations competing in a new competition that was intended to launch in 2022 and which would result in a final played between the top two teams. The drawback for the Six Nations was the notion of a promotion-relegation.


Following up on All Blacks coach Steve Hansen's viewpoint made several times during the World Cup in Japan, Pichot said the Nations' championship would develop the global game.


At the same time, Pichot said he understood the Six Nations stance.


"They have a very successful tournament, and it's very commercially sustainable," sarugbymag.co.za reported.


"What we have to try to do is convince them we all have to be together – north and south – for the better of the game. Hopefully, something will come out of the project and I'm confident something will happen.


"The day I stop trying I won't be here, so I'm very positive," he said.


"The Nations Championship would have been put in place as a pathway for teams to be in the top 12 in the world. The idea is to give structure."


Pichot believes Japan should be included in the Rugby Championship after their World Cup quarterfinal effort, and their wins over Ireland and Scotland.


"I strongly believe Japan can be part of the Rugby Championship. I said it three years ago and I am saying it now, not just because Japan did well in this World Cup.


"Don't forget, I come from an emerging country in Argentina. Now we've got Japan – who's the next Japan?"


Pichot said he thought the United States could be that next emerging force.


Japan's hosting of the World Cup also drew praise from Pichot.


"Even with an earthquake and a typhoon, it was still an amazing World Cup. Japan did everything well and the team performed really well," he said.


"Two years ago, everyone was panicking that Japan wasn't going to be a success. Today everyone is overjoyed at the success we've had. Life is about taking risks and I think Japan was a good risk.


"The people who made that call had a big vision and World Rugby needs that vision for the future. At the moment I think South America is going through really complicated economic times. There are a lot of changes. To sustain a Rugby World Cup you have to be able to have a forecast to see whether it can happen because of investment.


"You need a guarantee, and I think North America has that sustainability better than South America because they are mad about sport," he said.


Pichot, who is on the board of USA Rugby, said it was on their horizon but he couldn't tell whether they might be bidding for 2027 or 2031.


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