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Changes afoot in World Rugby diary but Six Nations to stay put

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 14/09/2016

Cut: Ireland, captained by Rory Best, could play fewer games in future
Cut: Ireland, captained by Rory Best, could play fewer games in future

World Rugby could be on the verge of making a number of changes to its traditional calendar, according to reports.

The issue has been one of the most pressing on the table of new chairman Bill Beaumont and his understudy Agustin Pichot since taking office in May with many believing the current calendar to be unsustainable.

Due to differences in the scheduling between hemispheres, some players, such as Ulster's South African star Ruan Pienaar, have endured year-round campaigns with club and international commitments.

With the current schedule not extending beyond the 2019 World Cup in Japan, it is reported that the BBC has obtained a draft proposal for the changes.

Both the Six Nations and World Cup would remain in their traditional spots in the calendar but the number of internationals would be cut.

Summer tours, the like of which saw Ireland travel to South Africa back in June, would only take place in three out of every four years with post-World Cup tours to be abolished.

With the controversy surrounding the scheduling of this summer's Lions visit to New Zealand - the first game of the trip is only a week after the finals of the Guinness PRO12 and Aviva Premiership and before the conclusion of the Top 14 - the 2021 tour would be moved to take place in July and August.

Domestic rugby would also be altered with Ulster's PRO12 season starting and finishing later.

The campaign would kick-off after its usual early September slot and finish at the end of June, more in line with Super Rugby in the southern hemisphere.

The next council meeting is in November.

Belfast Telegraph

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