RPA calls for compulsory rest periods
October 22, 2009
Damian Hopley hopes that players will soon have the benefit of compulsory rest periods © Getty Images
The Rugby Players Association (RPA) have weighed in on the recent fears for players' welfare, putting forward their hopes that compulsory rest periods will be introduced by Premier Rugby.
RPA chief Damian Hopley pinpointed the shrinking squads at many Guinness Premiership clubs as an issue given the fact that they are still taking part in three competitions, the league, Heineken Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup.
England manager Martin Johnson is facing an injury crisis ahead of November Tests against Australia, Argentina and New Zealand, with Andrew Sheridan, Phil Vickery, Lee Mears, Delon Armitage, Riki Flutey and Tom Rees all out with long-term injuries.
England's Elite Player Squad representatives are required to be rested for a certain number of games a season, as exemplified recently when Danny Care, Nick Easter and Ugo Monye all sat out Harlequins' Heineken Cup visit to Cardiff Blues. Hopley believes such provision should be afforded across the board.
"A key action point regards the inevitable reduction in squad sizes across the Premiership due to the tough economic climate," he said. "All 12 Premiership clubs are involved in three domestic and European competitions and the emergence of midweek games against touring international sides means club players are facing an unrelenting schedule of fixtures in the coming weeks.
"Therefore we will be sitting down with Premier Rugby to discuss compulsory rest periods for all players during the season. We also want to identify a solution that can ensure player welfare remains the primary concern for everyone involved in the sport."
"The fans could not be happier with the opposition and it adds an exciting element to a game that is shaping up as a thriller." Ben Kay previews the Premiership final showdown
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel