‘Long game’ is vi­tal for player wel­fare

Rugby World - - Editor’s Welcome - Owain Jones, Edi­tor

In thIs month’s lov­ingly-as­sem­bled spe­cial edi­tion, ‘the 50 most In­flu­en­tial peo­ple in rugby’, we had the un­en­vi­able yet fas­ci­nat­ing task of ranking the men and women who shape our game. We for­mu­lated a list that is sure to in­form, ed­u­cate and spark de­bate among our read­ers – see who made the cut on pages 47-83.

One re­al­i­sa­tion that sprouted from our re­search is that no sin­gle per­son serves as a fo­cal point in the fight for player wel­fare. sure, in each union and do­mes­tic league there are in­di­vid­u­als who spend their time sup­port­ing the play­ers, but those strands aren’t pulled to­gether by an all-pow­er­ful fig­ure who has the po­lit­i­cal clout to pro­tect the very peo­ple who drive our game.

re­cently I spoke to a pro­fes­sional player who com­menced a gru­elling pre-sea­son at the end of June, barely weeks af­ter the sweat had dried on his fore­head from an ar­du­ous sea­son.

then there’s the top 14, where the ‘off-sea­son’ is some­what ironic. the play­ers of toulon and rac­ing 92 were play­ing a few days shy of July and start again in mid-Au­gust. In­croy­able.

With the global sea­son very much on the agenda, self-in­ter­est and fi­nan­cial re­wards should give way to al­tru­ism and play­ing the ‘long game’, oth­er­wise we will see more en­forced re­tire­ments and se­ri­ous in­juries. Without play­ers, we have no game.

en­joy the is­sue.

email: owain.jones@timeinc.com phone: 01252 555271 twit­ter @owain­jtjones

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