WH AT Y O U S H O U L D B E T A L K I N G A B O U T T H I S MON T H
“Issue of global season is impossible to ignore”
WHEN NOVEMBER comes, inevitably there are fixtures arranged outside of the World Rugby-sanctioned Test window. Eyeing the chance to make a bit more cash, unions arrange matches between each other and wait for fans to show up.
So this season that means Wales play Scotland, England host South Africa, and Ireland and Italy travel all the way to Chicago to face each other.
It also means squad selection becomes that little bit murkier as clubs can block players from representing their country, unless a deal is struck. Instead, leagues have the opportunity to keep their bigger names and market their matches off the back of international heroes. So the Springboks will take to Twickenham without star turns like Faf de Klerk, Willie le Roux, Francois Louw and Vincent Koch – unless their clubs are happy to face a Premiership Rugby fine.
They are not the only ones. The all-too-familiar fixture between Wales and Scotland will be played out without Dan Biggar pulling the strings for the Welsh, as the fly-half remains with Northampton Saints. Scotland will not have some France-based leaders like Finn Russell and Greig Laidlaw – who talks about life in Clermont on P66.
With the volume of Test matches not decreasing but actually going the other way, the elephant in the room has spawned a herd. Yep, the idea of the ‘global season’ – the nirvana where all unions and leagues around the world align their schedules for the better of the game and its players – becomes ever more important to discuss. Because without it, cash-strapped unions will always seek a money-maker.
This may not mean the ‘World League’ mooted by World Rugby vice-chairman Agustín Pichot is the perfect answer.
But it is an answer and it’s becoming impossible to ignore the issue.
Missing linkFaf de Klerk has been a standout for the Boks