The rugby landscape is changing, that much is sure. The ever-increasing demand on players’ bodies and the issue surrounding head injuries means that players’ welfare is increasingly in the spotlight.
And rightly so.
The issue has raised its head again in the last number of weeks due to proposals from the Aviva Premiership clubs to shorten the length of the Six Nations to six weeks. As most people know, the Six Nations is a highly attritional and physical tournament which takes a huge toll on elite players.
This is in addition to another mooted proposal to extend the rugby season to 11 months for international players.
There has already been widespread condemnation to these proposals and in the case of the Six Nations, players would miss a one of the allocated rest weekends. Already, Billy Vunipola, Joe Marler and the RPA’s Chief Executive, Damian Hopley, have come out and voiced their opposition to the suggested changes. Now, Danny Care is the latest to air his grievances to an idea he describes as “scary”.
“We want to play rugby, we don’t want not to be playing,” Care told The Mirror. “But it’s getting harder and harder every year.
“The boys are getting bigger, the game’s getting quicker and more physical. I don’t know how much more they could push it to be honest. The thought of the season being even longer is really quite a scary one.
Ultimately, Care believes that the people who are proposing these changes are not aware of the physical and mental toll an extended season or shortened Six Nations would have on players’ welfare.
“To ask them [players] to go again, for another however many weeks they’re talking about, however many games… I don’t think the people who are trying to do it know the toll it’s having on people’s bodies.
“You’re going to shorten careers if you do that.”
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