Six Nations window could move as countries work towards global calendar

Six Nations window could move as countries work towards global calendar
Caelan Doris is tackled by Ellis Genge and Joe Launchbury during the Six Nations clash of England and Ireland at Twickenham in February. Picture: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The first signs of an aligned global rugby calendar were offered by the Six Nations and its southern hemisphere equivalent SANZAAR on Friday as the two bodies confirmed they were working closely together to achieve that objective.

Referring to their collective as “the Nations”, the Six Nations, which represents the unions of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy, and SANZAAR, acting for Rugby Championship participants Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, issued a joint statement which outlined a set of key principles between the parties.

There were no solid details or proposals for what a new and much-needed global calendar may look like, the Nations said: “Following the World Rugby meetings in March this year, SANZAAR and the Six Nations have been working closely over the lockdown period against a set of key principles between the parties, to develop and agree proposals for an aligned global calendar.” 

World Rugby’s plans for a Nations Championships, which the game’s governing body proposed last year, were met with resistance by many tier-one unions on both sides of the Equator for a variety of reasons but the Covid-19 pandemic of the last six months has laid bare the fragility of the current model of Test rugby and its relationship with the club game. 

Friday’s statement noted a changed outlook and a commitment “to eliminate self-interest”.

Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the Nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish.

“A further consultation process, in total transparency with unions, clubs, and players, will commence as all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative.” 

That commitment could see the Six Nations, traditionally scheduled in February and March, and the Rugby Championship, played in August and September, take place in the same international rugby window while the statement also set out provision for the inclusion of Emerging Nations in a new world view.

“The key principles that have underpinned the work to date are;

  • Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures
  • Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders, and competitions
  • Improve player welfare
  • Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows
  • Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game
  • Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings
  • Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.

“The Nations together with other key stakeholders remain open to shape the options that have been developed in an effort to resolve an issue that has held the game back for many years and are committed to putting rugby on a progressive path.”

More on this topic

Simon Zebo desperate as ever to land that elusive European titleSimon Zebo desperate as ever to land that elusive European title

Irish provinces enter three-week summer break hoping for PRO14 clarityIrish provinces enter three-week summer break hoping for PRO14 clarity

Rugby clubs meeting to discuss IRFU's return to play roadmapRugby clubs meeting to discuss IRFU's return to play roadmap

Together for one memorable night: When Super Rugby came to SowetoTogether for one memorable night: When Super Rugby came to Soweto


More in this Section

Quarter of Cork GAA clubs rule out Cúl CampsQuarter of Cork GAA clubs rule out Cúl Camps

Premier League to allow five substitutions per team for remainder of 2019-20 seasonPremier League to allow five substitutions per team for remainder of 2019-20 season

Rafael Nadal says he is not currently prepared to travel abroad for tournamentsRafael Nadal says he is not currently prepared to travel abroad for tournaments

Dalo's GAA Show: The life and times of the Bomber ListonDalo's GAA Show: The life and times of the Bomber Liston


Lifestyle

Paula Burns talks to five Irish designers embracing the latest fashion trend. Born out of necessity, with a whole lot of invention - it's the couture face mask.Face masks: Five Irish designers embracing the latest fashion trend

Audrey has been sorting out Cork people for ages...Ask Audrey: Are we supposed to envy the gowls in Normal People?

Harpers from Cork and beyond have been making the most of online interaction, and a 240-strong ensemble will perform O’Carolan’s ‘Fanny Power’ this weekend, writes Pet O’Connell.Harps for Hope makes online connections to form 240-strong ensemble

A revamp of Disco Pigs may be on hold, but Corcadorca have developed a new socially-distant work for the residents of various housing estates around Cork, writes Marjorie Brennan.Disco Pigs on hold but Corcadorca to go live for Cork Midsummer

More From The Irish Examiner