There could be a dramatic shift in the Aviva Premiership Rugby landscape if proposals to change the structure of the competition come through.
According to a report this Wednesday in The Guardian, the top rugby competition in England could be reduced to ten teams. This would reduce the number of matches played in the league – something a number of high-profile players have been vocal about in the past.
Should this come to fruition, it will allow international players to play more regularly for their clubs. Separately, there is a proposal to increase the length of the season to ten months as part of a ‘global calendar’ which is set to be introduced in 2020, the report states.
The amount of injuries suffered by players, particularly early in the season is a concern that the clubs have voices so playing fewer games with more weekends off will help in recovery and reduce player burnout.
Earlier this year, Saracens and England number 8 Billy Vunipola admitted that he would like to see a reduced number of competitive matches – and even confessed that it would be worth taking a pay cut to achieve this.
Interestingly, Saracens, who are jam-packed with internationals, have lost the last four on the bounce with their squad being depleted due to the international fixtures played in November.
Such a change to the structure of the competition would more than likely mean that clubs would not have to play (or at least play fewer games) without their top stars.
The proposal to reduce the Aviva Premiership to just ten teams is set to be discussed at the Professional Game Board along with discussing on the injury crisis, the salary cap and the future of the A team league.
Joel Slattery, Pundit Arena