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RFU Chief Executive Backs Changes To Six Nations Calendar

DUBLIN, IRELAND - MARCH 18: Captain Dylan Hartley of England lifts the Six nations trophy following the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 18, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The RFU are to back plans to reduce the current Six Nations schedule.

Under the current calendar, the five fixtures are spread out across seven weekends (including two rest weeks) but the RFU have put their support behind the proposed move to eliminate one of the rest weeks from the 2020 campaign onwards, incorporating the changes to the global season announced by World Rugby last week.

Speaking to BBC Sport, RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie argued that compacting the Six Nations would have a beneficial effect on players, despite running the risk of fatigue by playing five matches of high intensity in a shorter space of time:

“We think [the changes] would improve [the competition].

“It would narrow the ‘off’ periods and help with the broader narrative.

“It’s absolutely right to always be thinking about what to do to enhance, improve and make the Six Nations better.

“We think it is a good route. It may well be that others agree or disagree.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 05:  RFU Chief Executive Ian Ritchie talks during an England Women's Rugby media announcement at Twickenham Stadium on October 5, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Figures from other nations such as Ireland’s Joe Schmidt and Scotland’s Stuart Hogg (and even England Joe Marler) have already voiced their concerns about reducing an already exhausting fixture timeframe, insisting that the breaks in the series are good for recovery.

Any decision to reduce the number of weeks from seven to six will not be taken until May, after next month’s Six Nations review meeting. The RFU will patently be pushing for its implementation and should it come into force, it will be happening after the 2019 World Cup.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.