Planet Rugby

Calls for global calendar intensify

09th July 2013 11:33

Share:

Global playing calendar

2016: On calendar please!

Pressure has been ramped up on rugby administrators to establish a global playing calendar amid complaints that the season is too long and players risk burnout.

The International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA), the worldwide body for professional players, called for shifting the June Test match window to the last three weeks of July, beginning in 2016.

The move would see northern hemisphere club competitions starting a month later, allowing more of their domestic competitions to be played after the Christmas break, potentially providing improved player availability for Tests.

In the southern hemisphere, the change would do away with Super Rugby's month-long break and allow players an extended pre-season, something that has been sought for years.

Following a conference in Australia, IRPA chairman Damian Hopley said the 2016 timing was important as the 2015 World Cup in England would put significant pressure on the season structures of northern hemisphere leagues.

Mid-week rounds have already been mooted, potentially hurting spectator numbers, club revenues and negatively impacting on player welfare.

The proposals would also see the British and Irish Lions, from the 2017 series in New Zealand onwards, touring in a clear window after Super Rugby, allowing more chance for clubs to field full-strength teams, a criticism during the Lions' recent tour of Australia.

Existing windows for World Cup, Six Nations, Rugby Championship, November Tests and provincial competitions would not need any change.

IRPA is now asking SANZAR, Premiership Rugby, the French Rugby League, The Celtic League, the International Rugby Board and the Six Nations to come together and consider the potential benefits of the proposal.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said he was in favour of the changes.

"If the game's leaders give this idea, or a variation of it, serious consideration it could be a game-changer for professional rugby," he said.

"It would be fantastic to address this long-standing season structure debate once and for all, the players and the game would be so much better for it."

McCaw's sentiments were endorsed by Ireland and Lions playmaker Jonny Sexton.

"We see this initiative as beneficial for the global game," Sexton said.

"From a player perspective, we urge our leaders to get in a room together, take a positive attitude and see what can be done."

IRPA executive director Rob Nichol said it was "a rare opportunity for greater alignment of the season structures in the two hemispheres".

"It is essential we use these discussions to achieve positive change for players, supporters and commercial partners," he said.

All previous attempts to improve coordination of the global calendar have failed due to the demands of various interests in the game.

Traditionalists do not want showpiece events such as the Six Nations moved, Europe's powerful clubs oppose further disruption of their season, while the southern and northern hemispheres each want Test windows tailored to their needs.

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Sunday , November 23
Edinburgh vs Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Preview
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Lyon vs Montpellier18:00
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:00
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle FalconsBath vs Newcastle Falcons Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821