Fiji and Japan are set to be the sacrifices made by World Rugby in order to get their controversial global competition to go ahead.
World Rugby managed to get a period of due diligence from the world's top 12 countries last month but issues around the concept of a promotion-relegation system continues to hinder their efforts to finalise the competition.
The global governing body has already copped plenty of flack for the competition and it could be set for even more with a report surfacing that both Japan and Fiji have been axed from the top tier in the latest revamp of the league model.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the latest proposal would see the new competition only feature 10 nations in the top division - not 12 - from the existing Rugby Championship and Six Nations from 2022.
It means Fiji and Japan, who between them have beaten the likes of France, Italy and South Africa in the past four years, will miss out.
The Sydney Morning Herald did add however that the top division would expand to 12 teams from 2026, meaning two extra sides will get promoted eventually but would have to wait at least four years.
Another rugby nation sure to be disappointed by the latest model will be 12th-ranked Georgia who have been overlooked for Six Nations side Italy, currently ranked 14th.
While an exact reason has not been given for the 10-team model, it's understood the smaller variation is the quickest way to get the deal finalised as it would not require the Rugby Championship to undergo any changes for an expansion.