Friday 23 March 2018

Rugby Players' Association backs Bill Beaumont's bid to move Six Nations dates

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont believes the game's leaders should look at possibility of moving Six Nations to April
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont believes the game's leaders should look at possibility of moving Six Nations to April

England's players' union has backed Bill Beaumont's bid to move the RBS 6 Nations to create a global rugby season.

Rugby Players' Association (RPA) chairman Christian Day has praised World Rugby's incoming chairman Beaumont for admitting the Six Nations may have to move to April.

World Rugby want a streamlined global season to safeguard players against injury through simply being overworked through sheer number of games.

Six Nations chief executive John Feehan has previously branded the tournament's February-March slot "non-negotiable", but Beaumont insists change could be on the cards - and has received immediate support.

"It's brilliant Bill's come out and said that," Day told Press Association Sport.

"I hope he can do it, we'll have to see if he can.

"Hopefully the southern and northern hemispheres will get together and work things out for the players."

Beaumont was sworn in as World Rugby's new chairman in Dublin on Wednesday, and will start the new role on July 1.

The former England and British and Irish Lions star has targeted aligning a global calendar as one of his top five priorities, and conceded the positioning of the Six Nations merits review under that.

"The game has changed undoubtedly, and you have got to keep moving," Beaumont told The Times.

"I think you have got to be prepared to look at it (moving the Six Nations). That could well be a solution.

"I know John (Feehan) will probably be quite reluctant to do so. It's a question of compromise."

Northampton lock Day threw the RPA's weight behind Beaumont's moves for change, but accepted there could well be resistance.

"I think everyone knows the global structure is the one that's got to be broken if they want to make some big changes," said Day.

"The problem is that things have been done the same way for a long time now, and an autumn with the autumn internationals or a February, March time without the Six Nations is going to cause some people not to like it.

"This season was always going to be a polarising one.

"The difficulty is how do you drive that forward without making some big changes to set-ups that have been a certain way for a long time.

"The players' association is fighting very, very hard on many welfare fronts and it's important someone is doing that."

Press Association

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