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Seasons to move to Dec - end of July?
Discussion started by Rich. , 15 May, 2020 09:10
Seasons to move to Dec - end of July?
Rich. 15 May, 2020 09:10
With my weekly one allowed look at the Torygrath I read this - could be wild speculation but noises from Gareth Davies (Head of WRU) give weight to it. I THINK it would mean a Dec to end July season (perhaps sneaking into Aug) - 30 club weeks starting beginning of Dec (assuming it means start of Dec) and leaving a gap of 7 or 8 weeks for the Six Nations. If happens no doubt only for top levels of game. The article says;

The Six Nations may be moved from its traditional window of February and March to allow it to take place at the same time as the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship as part of a radical overhaul of the global calendar, Telegraph Sport can reveal.

It is understood that elements within the Six Nations are now said to be "open" to the idea of pushing the start of the championship back by a month to run during March and April as part of a compromise with the southern hemisphere, which would also bring forward the start of their tournament from August.

A working group representing unions from the northern and southern hemispheres is understood to have held a conference call on Thursday to discuss proposals for a new global calendar and the option of switching the July Test window to October is now said to be by some sources as the “favoured” option.

That would involve northern hemisphere nations travelling to play southern hemisphere opposition in October before return matches in Europe in November, potentially forming part of a new global tournament.

A proposal that would make the Six Nations and Rugby Championship play at the same time during March and April is also gaining support given that it would minimise the overlap between the international and club games.

Sir Bill Beaumont, who has just been re-elected as chairman of World Rugby, had said last week that the Six Nations would not be expected to move from its traditional window as part of future negotiations but, significantly, a delayed start has not been dismissed out of hand by the member unions.

“I think there would be willingness to move the Six Nations to March and April,” said one source. “It is difficult to play rugby in Australia in January and February, but switching the Rugby Championship to March/April would allow for that.”

Both Premiership Rugby and its French counterpart sent a joint-letter to World Rugby this week demanding representation in talks about any rescheduling of international fixtures and it seems clear that there is a willingness within the unions to ensure that any new deal allows the club game to flourish.

The proposal to delay the start of the Six Nations, with the Rugby Championship played simultaneously, and shifting the July window to October, would free up around 30 weeks for clubs and regions to play.

Draft schedules would allow the club game to start in December, playing in two blocks – 13 weeks followed by 17 weeks – to allow the domestic tournaments to take centre stage more often and allow the best players to be available to play in more matches, subject to player welfare restrictions.

Discussions are ongoing and it is not yet clear, given the challenges facing all unions because of the Covid-19 pandemic, whether agreement will be possible in time for any new structure to be in place for the start of next season.

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