| 16.4°C Belfast

IRFU oppose new summer rugby plans

Bill Sweeney

The IRFU is against a move to summer rugby, according to Munster chief executive Ian Flanagan.

World Rugby are working on a globally aligned season and hope to find a solution to their fixture issues by the end of the month. One proposal would see the northern hemisphere move on to a calendar-year campaign, beginning in January and continuing through to November with the July international window moving to October.

However, the English and French clubs are trying to block that plan and it has emerged that the Irish union is not in favour of putting itself in a position where rugby would compete with the GAA at the height of its season.

English RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney suggested yesterday that a compromise would see the club season begin in January and end in July — thus avoiding any matches in August.

However, it appears agreement remains some way off. And, while Flanagan said Munster and Ireland will adapt to whatever is agreed, he made clear that the current position is to avoid summer rugby.

“It’s clear historically that we’re not in favour of summer rugby, that’s a position we’ve held consistently in Irish rugby,” he said.

“The only other thing I’d say in that space is we’re living through a period where we can adapt to anything, so we’re certainly not frightened of (what) the final proposal which is agreed turns out to be. We can adapt, but certainly in Irish rugby we’re not afraid of summer rugby but that is not our first preference.”

Belfast Telegraph