South Africa And New Zealand Want Global Rugby Season

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South African Rugby will campaign alongside their New Zealand counterparts for the development of a global season that will suit rugby playing nations all over the world by 2020.

The South African rugby governing body is in favour of making the northern and southern hemisphere seasons more aligned for the benefit of rugby all over the world, and specifically for such tournaments as the Rugby World Cup.

The plan is for the two powerhouse rugby nations to push their agenda when the discussion is addressed at World Rugby’s executive committee meetings in future.

New World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont and his new deputy Augstin Pichot will take over from Bernard Lapasette and Oregan Hoskins respectively soon, and they will need to deal with this issue as something that the world champion All Blacks are pushing.

New Zealand Rugby Union CEO Steve Tew mentioned the need for a global season when he confirmed the All Blacks may even withdraw from the World Rugby tours programme if an agreement is not reached by 2020.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux put the South African support squarely behind the initiative, with the current tours agreement ending in 2019.

“Everyone in the game knows that we have an issue around the season structure and the impact on player welfare and World Rugby is already exploring new options,” Roux said, according to Supersport.

“There’s no silver bullet for this problem and it is something that has been exercising minds for a number of years. But there is widespread agreement that there is no appeal in continuing the current model beyond the current tours agreement (2019),” he added.

“Any new format must strengthen the integrity of test rugby and address the key considerations for southern hemisphere rugby of financial sustainability and player welfare. It’ll take a change in mindsets to achieve that and will mean a shake-up in what has become the norm but we have to explore the options,” the CEO concluded.

One of the major issues stopping the creation of a global season is the Six Nations tournament that takes place between European teams, as this competition would need to revise the time of year when their fixtures take place in order to fit into a global season.