Irish Captain Rory Best disagrees with shortened Six Nations proposal

Irish Players reject shortened Six Nations.

Irish Rugby Captain Rory Best has rejected a proposal by the RFU and the English Premiership for a shortened Six Nations meaning that they wanted to take the rest weeks out of the current schedule from 2020 and onward.

At the moment the Six Nations has a block of two games followed by a rest week. The third match of the tournament is then played and followed by another rest week and finishes with the last two games meaning the players get a break in between some of the matches.

The RFU and the English Premiership both have came forward with an idea of reducing the tournament to five or six weeks instead of seven.

The proposal by the English would see the Six Nations drop the rest weeks in order to give more games back to the club season. It seems like a short sighted proposal from the RFU as player welfare and recover over such an intense tournament are already issues.

Condensing the 6-Nations calendar would simply add to the demands that are already on players.

Rory Best and the majority of Irish players and officials have rejected this proposal and talking to the Irish Independent Best explains why.

He said “The intensity of the Six Nations is like no other competition I have ever played in,”.

“If it were to take place over a five- or six-week period, players who pick up niggles would struggle to return while those who take to the field every week would be fatigued to such an extent that it would undoubtedly impact on their involvement with their clubs once the tournament finishes.

“With the introduction of the bonus-point system, every game counts more than ever before.”

“While we now have plenty of guys who can play their part, the bonus-point system dictates that every game counts more than ever before,”.

‘As one of the best-supported competitions in the rugby calendar, every paying fan will expect to see the strongest sides week-in, week-out’.

“It is important that the integrity of the Six Nations, from a spectator’s perspective, remains intact as far as possible.”

Chief executive of Rugby Players Ireland Simon Keogh believes that any change would not be welcome as it would not benefit the players.

“What’s good about the Six Nations at the moment is that it gives a sufficient amount of rest to the guys in between a few of the games and allows them to recover,” he said.

“When I spoke to one player, he said if you receive an injury at the start of the proposed five-week model then there’s the potential that you won’t play at all whereas with those extra few weeks there’s enough time to recover and even get a practice game in between to get yourself back to international level.

“The new proposal to reduce it doesn’t allow for that, doesn’t allow sufficient recovery for guys to get back in.

“We want to have the best guys on the field, a best-v-best scenario.

“If you reduce it, you’re working contrary to that ideology and you won’t get the same quality on the field because guys get injured and won’t have time to recover.

“They’re very intense games.

“We met the guys in the Shelbourne Hotel during the Six Nations the day after the France game and they were very, very tired; and that was after a rest week.”

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