Next week sees the World Rugby Nations Cup visit Uruguay for the first time, as this key developmental tournament reaches into South America. 

Namibia, Spain, Argentina XV, Russia and Emerging Italy will join the hosts in the capital, Montevideo, as they compete for the coveted trophy across three rounds on 10, 14 and 18 June.

The tournament, which is focused on the development of tier two teams, ensures there is increased competitiveness on the global stage and gives game time to emerging talents.

Funded by World Rugby, the Nations Cup was first held in 2006 in Lisbon with four teams taking part and was expanded to six teams the following year. With an eye on Rugby World Cup 2019, head coaches will be looking to assess how their players perform in a competitive test match environment and while also building depth in their squads.


World Rugby plays a significant role in the continued development of unions that have been identified for high performance support as part of a £50 million Strategic Investment Programme from 2016-19. The Nations Cup is part of World Rugby's strategic investment tournaments, along with the Pacific Nations Cup, U20 Championship and Trophy.

Law trials

Meanwhile, seven closed law trials, which are focused around the scrum and breakdown, will also be in effect at the Nations Cup this year, along with the ongoing U20 Championship in Georgia and upcoming U20 Trophy in Uruguay.

The seven law trials are:

  • No signal from referee prior to put-in at scrum
  • Scrum-half must throw the ball in straight but can align left shoulder with the middle of the tunnel
  • Allowing the number eight to pick from the feet of the second row
  • Compulsory striking by the hooker after throw-in to scrum
  • Tackle only and offside line creation (tackler, tackled player and at least one player on their feet and over the ball creates the offside line)
  • A player cannot kick the ball out of the ruck – can only hook it back
  • Tackler must get up before playing the ball and then can only play from his side of the tackle gate

The closed law trials were also implemented at the Americas Rugby Championship and the Pacific Challenge this year and feedback and statistics will be reviewed by World Rugby at the completion of all events. They run alongside global law trials, which were introduced in January, focused on front-row replacements (for uncontested scrums), advantage, touch, penalty tries and time-keeping. Click here to read more