The IRB are apparently getting together later this week for a chinwag (or "historic global forum" as they rather self-importantly describe it) which will include a rather radical proposal from the RFU (surely some mistake) to introduce a "World Series" featuring the countries of the Six Nations, the Tri-Nations and Argentina.
The plan, rather laughably described as being "top secret" (so either Total Flanker has an exclusive mole in the upper echelons of the IRB or the the details of the proposal can be accessed by picking up any of the more serious Sunday papers), is designed to ensure that, unlike the Rugby World Cup, every top team will play the other nine over a two-year period, with aggregate results from the Six Nations and Tri-Nations and end-of-season tour matches determining the final rankings (which will also affect Rugby World Cup seedings). The top team from each side of the equator will then meet in a one-off Grand Final at Twickenham, the Stade de France or the Millennium Stadium.
What's clever about the plan is that it only involves one extra fixture - the Grand Final - so shouldn't noticeably add to the burden on players, and it also has the potential to end the annual charade of the Northern Hemisphere nations sending second-string XVs each Spring to be slaughtered down under.
What's less clear is how much credence will be given to this so-called "World Series" by the Unions, the English and French clubs, the players and, most importantly, the fans. After all, the last thing anyone (well, anyone who isn't from New Zealand) wants is for the importance and aura of the Rugby World Cup to be diluted in any way.
Although it clearly does have its merits, the plan will clearly never work. After all, whoever heard of a "World Series" involving teams from outside the United States?