“Struc­tured sea­son? Mor e like a sorry s h a mbl e s ”

Rugby World - - PLAYER SURVEY -

ET’S GET to the point. Ev­ery­one knows that there is far too much top rugby, that the num­ber of games is way past the dan­ger level for ex­haus­tion, burnout and in­jury. Ev­ery­one knows, but a se­ri­ous num­ber of peo­ple in var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions find it in­con­ve­nient to ad­mit it.

Eas­ily the best mea­sure – and, in fact, the only mea­sure guar­an­teed to work – is to have fewer ma­jor games. You can tin­ker with laws

Lto re­duce the silly num­ber of heavy con­tacts, but fewer games in a struc­tured sea­son is the only way to go. It would be nice if the struc­ture also al­lows ev­ery event to have a proper win­dow, with real rest pe­ri­ods and a bal­ance be­tween the two hemi­spheres. Are you with me so far?

So, the struc­tured sea­son… It’s been men­tioned fre­quently and avidly for years, and it has never been seen. It’s a bit like Cap­tain Main­war­ing’s wife in Dad’sArmy – in ev­ery plot but never re­vealed.

There have been three re­cent at­tempts at find­ing a struc­tured sea­son. In 2017, the rugby world was agog when the game’s stake­hold­ers gath­ered in San Fran­cisco to ham­mer one out. When the an­nounce­ment was made, we found that ef­fec­tively no progress had been made and no mat­ter how they dressed it all up, ev­ery­thing was very much like it was be­fore – over the top.

Two months ago, TheSun­day Times re­vealed that se­nior World Rugby of­fi­cials, led by the great

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