Sunday, April 01, 2007

RFU: Brain Farts

August 11, 2006

Rugby Planet's Danny Stephens writes an eye-opening commentary about how the RFU doesn't get it.

No wind of change from the farts

I must confess, I never had much time for Will Carling, but on one point, he was unquestionably right. English rugby was, and still is, run by a bunch of old farts who have in the last few days contrived to create the most gruesome stench yet, in the wake of the plate of spilled beans that has been the Professional Rugby Players' Association's poll results.

For those who are still in the dark, the vast majority of the players polled felt that one way or another, they were playing too much rugby, and were physically suffering as a result. [...]

Each club has a minimum - absolute minimum - of 31 matches per season, assuming they progress no further than the first round of any competition they play in. A club reaching the final of all the domestic competitions will play 38. Added to those 38 matches are the eleven scheduled international matches England play each year, making a grand total of 49 possible matches for a top player at a top club. Call it 44 for the average England squad member. The players have, according to their Long-form Agreement, a strict close season eleven-week rest period as well. 49 plus 11 = 60, which is eight weeks too many for a calendar year. So the result is that England's clubs are shorn of their best players for pretty much a third of the domestic season. [...]

It is high time that the RFU and PRL cast their eyes south. Centrally-contracted players, a season where competitions start and finish before the onset of the next, where international players are never asked to compromise their loyalty, and where the most talented and fresh-looking teams in the world currently bask in the brightness on the horizon that is Rugby World Cup 2007. Unions and organisations that treat their players as players, and not commodities to be exploited for making fast bucks and winning cheap victories.

Read the whole thing here.


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