There are plans in place to extend the Premiership season to 10 months
There is considerable anger among players over the scheduling demands
Union chief Christian Day has refused to rule out strikes in the near future
An uprising amongst England’s professional rugby players and coaching staff against plans to extend the Aviva Premiership season to 10 months has deepened this week.
Gloucester winger and RPA board member Charlie Sharples called the move a “red flag” with “no benefits for players”.
Former England star Alex Corbisiero added his voice to the debate saying on his NBC Scrum Down podcast: ‘I am a big fan of Premiership Rugby but my honest opinion is that this is a mistake.
‘I don’t think it is sustainable or workable. I think it is kind of madness to have an 11-month season where internationals especially are expected to be playing again six or seven weeks after their last Test if there are to be no internationals missing Premiership games.
‘We’re supposed to have a mandatory five weeks off. I thought then they’ll have breaks during the season which will accumulate to five but this is madness as well because during the season it is very hard to take proper time off.
‘This needs to be calmly addressed around the table. The Rugby Players’ Association need to be able to sit in front of Premiership Rugby and voice their concerns. They need to draw a line in the sand.
‘Christian Day said he hopes it never comes to strikes. I never want to see players strike, I’d love to see things worked out. But if this is an issue which is not going to budge I would fully support players striking and doing what they need to get this point across to Premiership Rugby and World Rugby too.’
Another well-placed source also told the New Zealand Herald: “It’s a disaster. There is no clarity on what form the rest periods will take and even if a player is given a mid-season break, they will never be completely ‘off’.