Rugby is a winter sport. So said Eddie Jones when the usual open-or-closed debate about the Principality Stadium roof was in full spate. Well, rugby is no longer a winter sport. Since news broke in The Daily Telegraph last week about the restructured global season, it will be a winter, spring and summer sport, stretching well into July. The decision is a betrayal of the sport’s traditions and a strain on player welfare.
England players face the prospect of clocking on for duty in September for the start of the club season and looking down a long, long road of hard labour until they can crawl into a darkened corner for rest and recuperation following a July tour to far-flung parts. Of course there are caveats. The 32-game maximum load for international players will still be in place. Club and country will manage that schedule accordingly. Well, unless clubs decide to hold back their England...
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