Chris Ashton has said a two-week break is the last thing Gallagher Premiership players want, after the next two rounds of European action were postponed.
Premiership chiefs decided against bringing forward the next two rounds of their competition to fill the hole in the schedule left by the postponement of the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup.
The chief executive of Premiership Rugby Darren Childs stated the decision was made in order to protect player welfare, but Ashton believes most teams will be disappointed by the unscheduled break in play.
Latest RUW pod. We reconvene late in the day to talk Euro postponement and if the Prem have missed an open goal. Also talk Sinckler, Bristol going top, & is Paolo Odogwu on England’s radar? Plus top coaching chat with @nick_easter https://t.co/fRbioy1DSc @ugomonye @ChrisAshton1
— Chris Jones BBC (@chjones9) January 12, 2021
“It’s not ideal for us as players. We were due to play anyway so I don’t think it matters what competition it is.
“The last thing teams want is to go two weekends without a game. It keeps everyone fit and firing,” Ashton told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast.
The Pro14 has opted to reschedule a number of its postponed games for the coming weeks, with Leinster vs Munster on the 23rd of January the most notable fixture.
The Top 14 have also used the next two weekends wisely, having rearranged four postponed fixtures for this coming weekend.
‘They were meant to be laying this weekend’
Former England international Ugo Monye was also puzzled by the Premiership’s decision not to use the European postponement to their advantage, pointing out that teams were already planning to play over the next two weekends.
“I understand that players and coaches need rest but they were meant to be playing this weekend. The calendar was set ages ago. Everyone signed up to it.
“You have got two competitions perfectly fit into a congested calendar, you have to consider the impact that your decision domestically could have on another competition,” Monye said.
The decision appears even more perplexing when considering that several rounds of the Premiership will be played on the same weekend as the Six Nations Championship, meaning international players will be unavailable to their clubs.