The Six Nations are facing a battle to win support from clubs and players for an expanded tournament featuring South Africa.
Sportsmail revealed on Saturday that talks are under way about inviting the Springboks to join a rebooted competition from 2024 — and we can now reveal further details of proposals that would dramatically alter international rugby.
There is a strong feeling among many of the Six Nations that any new tournament must take place within the existing window, which may mollify the clubs but would raise major concerns over player welfare.
Under one draft itinerary for a proposed Seven Nations seen by Sportsmail, the tournament would take place within a seven-week block, with each team getting just one week off.
Teams with byes in the first and last weeks would have to play six matches on successive weekends, and those with byes on match-days two and six would have five games in a row.