‘Teams don’t want a break’ – Chris Ashton

Date published: January 12 2021

Harlequins wing Chris Ashton has criticised Premiership Rugby’s decision to take a two-week break after the European matches were postponed.

Following the suspension of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup due to concerns voiced by the French government over the new strains of Covid-19, it presented an opportunity for the English governing body to reschedule their fixtures.

In a calendar which is already packed due to the impact caused by the pandemic last year, it is now difficult to see how all the matches can be fulfilled, unless some are played in midweek.

Both the Top 14 and PRO14 have taken the step of playing domestic games over the next couple of weeks and Ashton is struggling to see the logic behind the Premiership’s decision.

Not ideal for players

“It’s not ideal for us as players,” Ashton told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly.

“We were due to play anyway so I don’t think it matters what competition it is. The last thing teams want is to go two weekends without a game. It keeps everyone fit and firing.”

Former England and Quins player Ugo Monye echoed those sentiments, despite Premiership Rugby claiming that it would offer teams a chance to recuperate ahead of a busy four months.

“It does not make sense,” Monye added. “I understand that players and coaches need rest but they were meant to be playing this weekend.

“The calendar was set ages ago. Everyone signed up to it. You have got two competitions perfectly fit into a congested calendar, you have to consider the impact that your decision domestically could have on another competition.”