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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 31
Leinster vs Edinburgh19:35
Glasgow vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Ospreys vs Connacht19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster 13 - 23 ToulonUlster vs Toulon Report
Bath 19 - 21 ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Report
Montpellier 13 - 15 GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Report
Northampton 34 - 6 OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Report
Scarlets 15 - 3 LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 18 - 33 Cardiff Blues
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Exeter 33 - 13 Connacht
Bucuresti 9 - 13 Stade Francais
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Western Province 19 - 16 LionsWestern Province vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 36 - 32 TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615