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Why not let both sexes play rugby in same league?

In a weekend that appeared designed to allay New Zealand coach Steve Hansen's concerns that the Six Nations is becoming boring, there was one missing factor in the "modern" game: gender equality.

Many believe the game has become overly professional and has lost its excitement. Plenty of suggestions are now being floated.

If a problem with the men's game is professionalism to the point of tedium, the problem with the women's game is that its relatively open and exciting dynamic does not get coverage. When a colleague asked me if I had seen 'the' Ireland game, I did not need to ask whether he meant the men's 10-40 win, or the women's 3-73 demolition of Scotland.

The simple solution is to have a combined league table with one winner. The England men's team should play Ireland with a possible two points on offer and some time before, after, or during the match, England women could play for a possible two more points on the same league table.

The benefits are numerous: a tournament of 15 games divided up by two rest weeks would become a tournament of 30 games.

There would be no need for rugby-less weekends for spectators, but plenty of time for an extra rest week for each team.

A win-win scenario; much like the impressive, but for now unconnected, successes of the Irish male and female teams.

GRAHAM SCOBIE

By email

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