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Defiant RFU are sticking by their plan to shorten the Six Nations


By Robert Jones

The Rugby Football Union are standing by their proposal to reduce the length of the Six Nations from seven to six weeks despite widespread opposition.

They are keen to remove one of the tournament's two fallow weeks in an effort to create space in the calendar for the new global season which takes effect after the 2019 World Cup.

England pair Joe Marler and George Ford have both been critical over the plans to condense the calendar - with the former describing it as "ridiculous" - while Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has also voiced his concerns.

Truncating the tournament would generate greater momentum, but scrapping the two current rest weeks could also be seen to favour England and France because of their bigger playing pools and greater financial might.

And although RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie admits the controversial proposal is not fixed, they are still lobbying for its implementation in three years.

"It is still under discussion within the Six Nations," Ritchie said. "The Six Nations need to have some further debate and discussion about that.

"It is an interesting balance between economics in one respect, player welfare in another, and how does that then balance it out? You need to have a look at the total picture.

"The seven-to-six situation is something that we were supportive of and believe it is a decent thing to do.

"And while we don't think it is that impactful in terms of player welfare, I can completely understand the concerns from the other nations."

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