The Six Nations and the southern hemisphere rugby body SANZAAR have entered a consultation process aimed at creating an aligned global rugby calendar "in total transparency with unions, clubs and players", a joint statement said.

The hope is to have international windows that are aligned between the northern and southern hemisphere, to lessen the overlap between club and country fixtures and free players from domestic commitments for internationals.

"Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the Nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish," a statement said.

One point of discussion will be to play the Six Nations tournament at the same time as the southern hemisphere Rugby Championship in a designated window period.

Currently both overlap with the European club season.

The hope is that a global calendar will "improve player welfare" and "improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows".

The statement added the two parties wanted to, "restore public faith in the core values of rugby and show strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game".

Meanwhile, World Rugby has welcomed the announcement.

It said: "World Rugby has consistently supported and championed reform of the international calendar for the betterment of the sport as a whole, including all unions, international and club competition organisers, and players.

"Within regular and productive discussions between stakeholders, World Rugby is working to ensure that any calendar outcome recognises the global nature of our sport, and therefore the competition needs of all nations at all levels.

"Any proposed competition model must also prioritise player welfare considerations, the women's game, and protect the funding model of the wider game which is driven by the growth in the value of Rugby World Cup."

The Six Nations competition contains England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and Italy, while SANZAAR is made up of world champions South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.