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”

Rugby World - - FRONT ROW -

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

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