Rugby Union

six nations.

Major update in the proposed changes to Six Nations Championship

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Football News

The RFU's proposal to condense the Six Nations tournament into a six-week format, as opposed to seven, has been vetoed by five of the six nations.

The proposal was scheduled to come into effect from 2019/20, and it came about because of World Rugby restructuring the calendar, starting from 2019/20.

The Test window will move from June to July, which led to Premiership rugby announcing that from 2019, their season would start in September and finish in June.

Only England voted in favour of the change, with France, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Italy all voting against, according to reports.

The Welsh and Scottish unions both have publicly opposed the plans, and the Ireland coach also had publicly expressed concerns about playing five internationals in six weeks.

The proposal would have meant that England and France would sit out the first weekend, with all teams competing in the second, and England and France playing in the third week, usually reserved as a rest week.

Ex-RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie, who has since left his role, said in March: "We believe it is perfectly right to have a six-week competition as opposed to a seven-week one. We think it would improve it.

"It would narrow the off-periods, help with the broader narrative. We think it is a good route.”

However, England and Harlequins prop Joe Marler told the Guardian: "If we lost a rest week – I think it’s ridiculous.

RBS Six Nations Launch

"They can slap me on the wrist for that all they want but it’s such a physical tournament, the game itself is getting more and more physical every week.”

Saracens no.8 Billy Vunipola also said last week that players were not happy at the lengthening of the season, suggesting that players could strike.

This was backed up by Damian Hopley, the head of the players' union, who said: "We cannot rule out strike action.

"We’re the players’ union – we have to respond to what our members want and clearly that is the ultimate sanction. Ultimately, if you’ve got an angry group of players who feel disenfranchised, the choice is theirs.”

Is a player's strike on the horizon?

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