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Six Nations in talks with southern hemisphere over new global rugby calendar

 

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Over the line: Ireland's Jacob Stockdale scores the winning try against the All Blacks in 2018.

Over the line: Ireland's Jacob Stockdale scores the winning try against the All Blacks in 2018.

PA

Over the line: Ireland's Jacob Stockdale scores the winning try against the All Blacks in 2018.

The prospect of a global calendar taking shape over the coming months has been handed a major boost after it was revealed that the Six Nations and SANZAAR have been working closely together throughout the lockdown period.

As rugby continues to be put on hold due to Covid-19, the down time has been seen as an ideal chance to align the northern and southern hemisphere seasons.

Such a move is long overdue and would be welcomed across the board, as the international and club game look to join up in their thinking.

A joint statement released by the Six Nations and SANZAAR acknowledged that although there had been differing preferences at the start of the discussions, there is now an agreed shared mindset "that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish.

"A further consultation process, in total transparency with unions, clubs and players, will commence as all parties work towards an aligned global calendar that can deliver a clear and coherent narrative."

The statement outlines seven key principles that have underpinned the work to date:

  1. Significantly mitigate overlaps between club and country fixtures
  2. Better aligned player release windows for players, stakeholders and competitions
  3. Improve player welfare
  4. Improve narrative and competitiveness of International and Domestic Competitions around clear windows
  5. Define clear high-performance pathways for Emerging Nations through the delivery of an internationally more inclusive game
  6. Evolve competition structures that are underpinned with enhanced commercial offerings
  7. Restore public faith in the core values of rugby and showing strong collective leadership in the best interests of the game.

The key stakeholders within both hemispheres insist that they remain open to all options as there has been an admission that the long standing issue over the global calendar has held the game back for years and veered it off a progressive path.

Independent.ie