Burns says ‘mad’ schedule may risk player health
Freddie Burns says the revised Premiership Rugby schedule which will ask clubs to play seven games in 28 days is “complete madness” and fears it will expose players to a risk of long-term injury problems.
Burns, the former Bath fly-half who is joining Japanese club side Shokki Shuttles in January, said that players were alarmed by the decision to complete the season in full, including three midweek rounds, when the league resumes next month.
Burns, whose three-year tenure with Bath ended last month, said he was able to speak out as he was leaving the Premiership, claiming many players were concerned at a time when clubs had also cut the size of their squads.
“The players feel like they have been pushed into a corner, first with the pay-cut situation and now the amount of games,” said Burns. “Given the physicality and the attrition of the game now, to ask players to play seven games in 28 days is just complete madness.
“The players are trapped at the minute. They can’t really look elsewhere because there aren’t many opportunities in France, and they are not going to say anything because clubs will stand them down. It is a really sorry state.
“As a guy who is leaving the Premiership, I feel I can speak out a little bit and shed a bit of light on what the players are feeling.”
Burns conceded that the midweek games would provide more opportunity for squad rotation to give fringe players opportunities but insisted that the pressure for results and rate of attrition could expose players to greater injury risk.