The Rugby Football Union (RFU), Premiership Rugby and Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) have today announced that guaranteed in-season breaks will be introduced for players as part of the agreed structure for the next three seasons.
From 2019/20 onwards, there will be a commitment to a maximum number of match involvements, rest for the next England World Cup squad in July 2020, a year before the next British and Irish Lions’ tour, and alignment with the global season requirements, based on the San Francisco agreements.
However, although in season breaks are welcome, the season will be extended with the Premiership final now taking place in June.
The key announcements include:
- Guaranteed in-season breaks for players
in each of the three seasons.
- Mandatory five-week post-season rest for all players which includes two weeks’ absolute rest and three weeks’ active rest
- Minimum 10 weeks off/pre-season for England Senior Elite Player Squad (EPS) players (five weeks rest and five weeks preparation)
- Minimum 12 weeks between Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final and Round 1 of the following Gallagher Premiership Rugby season
- Maximum 35 match involvements (>20 minutes) in any one season for all players
- Maximum 30 full game equivalents (reduced from 32) in any one season for all players
- Premiership Rugby Cup structure to provide rest weeks for players with the most match time
- England Senior EPS players to have a mandatory rest week if playing all international matches and more than 65% of total minutes (reduced from 80%) in the Quilter Internationals or Six Nations
- England Rugby World Cup squad rested for the summer Tests in July 2020 unless they have had 20 or fewer match involvements in the 2019-20 season
- England players on the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to have a rest week during the 2021 Autumn Internationals
- English Lions’ players to have 10 weeks break
- Tri-partite panel with an independent chairman to monitor and ensure compliance with the principles and to decide on any individual exceptions
Stephen Brown, Chief Executive, Rugby Football Union said: “This is very much a partnership and this domestic season structure has been a collaboration between the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the RPA; driven by the professional game board (PGB) and with the San Francisco 2017 agreement underpinning everything.
“We’ve taken into account the obligations under the PGA and developed the new domestic season structure, focussing on the requirements of player welfare and input from the PGB sports science advisory sub-committee, which we all feel is the right approach for professional rugby in England.”