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 All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship