Rugby Club World Cup set to be launched in 2028 - sources

Plans for a rugby Club World Cup where the best northern and southern hemisphere club sides will compete against each other are in the offing, sources told ESPN, with the tournament set to launch in 2028.

The top eight sides from the European Rugby Champions Cup -- which includes South African teams -- as well as six Super Rugby teams plus two others, likely from Japan, will compete in the competition.

The tournament will have a profound effect on the already congested global calendar and will impact the structure of the Champions Cup, with the top eight sides in that season qualifying for the Club World Cup, while the remaining eight teams will compete for the Challenge Cup.

The competition has been earmarked to take place in a window in June, meaning the English Premiership, French Top 14, United Rugby Championship and Super Rugby competitions, which are all scheduled to finish in June this year, will need to be completed before then.

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The Club World Cup will then be played before the mid-year international window in July.

A 2028 start date will mean the tournament will be played in years following the Rugby World Cup and in between British and Irish Lions tours, which also occur every four years.