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Monday, November 8, 1999 Published at 20:07 GMT

Sport: Rugby Union

Rugby chiefs opt for fresh start

The Six Nations committee are backing a change to European rugby

The Six Nations Committee have urged the home unions to consider a radical overhaul of the northern hemisphere rugby union season.

Committee chairman Allan Hosie will chair a full meeting on November 15 during which the setting up of a British and Irish League will be discussed.

Hosie said: "I have requested that the committee's representatives consult with each of their unions in a fresh endeavour to look at the structure of the northern hemisphere season.

[ image: The home nations failed - for the first time ever - to get past the quarter-final stage]
The home nations failed - for the first time ever - to get past the quarter-final stage
"The representatives will then give a report at the next full meeting of the Six Nations Committee. It is likely that their reports will encompass the notion of any new cross-border competition."

The failure of the home nations in the Rugby World Cup - after England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland all fell at the quarter-final stage - has prompted many to question the structure of rugby in Europe.

Wales coach, Graham Henry, has called for a European-style Super-12 system, while others argue that a British League is now the way forward.

Traditionally, the English clubs have opposed any change to the league structure and rejected a call for a British league to be introduced this year.

As a result, the Scottish districts joined the Welsh League, in an effort to improve on their current competitions, though this is regarded as merely a 'stop gap' solution, until a wider British or European league is embraced.

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