IRB to tackle growing problem of Test overkill
November 26, 2013
© Getty Images
The International Rugby Board is preparing to try to tackle concerns that the increasingly packed international calendar is taking a heavy toll on players.
Talk is cheap
At the IRB's annual council last week it consulted with unions and agreed a working party to look into the situation. It will include representatives from SANZAR, the Six Nations, the IRB and the International Rugby Players Association.
According to the Times, one proposal involves moving the fractured June tours window back a month to July. This would allow the Super 15 to be played right through rather than have a month break near the end. That would also mean a later start to the European season.
The Australians' match in Cardiff this weekend will be their 15th of the year. But while the unions may support the principle of reducing the burden on top players, it is worth noting the Australian board agreed to the additional fixture to try to tackle its own financial problems.
The paper quoted an IRB spokesman as saying the hope is an agreement can be reached in time for the 2016-17 season. "The group's remit is to consider the strategic issues relating to the international calendar," he said. "And to examine the feasibility of creating an international season calendar that enhances player welfare and optimises the rugby brand."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Managing Editor, ESPN EMEA Digital Media
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'