27 Jul 2016

Global Rugby season may not happen

6:35 am on 27 July 2016

Hopes of establishing a more globally aligned rugby season have receded, with England's RFU indicating it is unwilling to move the Six Nations or autumn schedule.

Dylan Hartley at the announcement of his role as the new England Rugby Captain

Dylan Hartley at the announcement of his role as the new England Rugby Captain Photo: PhotoSport

New World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont aims to synchronise the northern and southern hemisphere calendars, insisting that to make room, the Six Nations might have to be staged in April.

His plans have already hit a major stumbling block, however, with RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie hinting Twickenham will oppose any changes to the bulwarks of the international season in Europe.

If the Six Nations and November series are to remain in their slots, only the June tours will be left for negotiation.

"The Six Nations, as far as the date in the calendar is concerned, works well," Ritchie told the BBC.

"As far as we're concerned, we have a great TV deal and we have stadia that are filled for every game. Why would you want to change something that works really well? So I can't see there being any significant move in that.

"And I think as well that the autumn internationals work terribly well for us as well. It's early days yet, but it's going to be an interesting few months on the global calendar discussions."

The agreement over international fixtures expires after the 2019 World Cup and the stance of the sport's richest union points to few changes being made to the existing schedule.

Adding to the gloom gathering over plans to harmonise the hemispheres is the new 374 million dollar deal that extends until 2024 agreed to on Monday by the RFU and Premiership clubs.

"There have been a number of preliminary discussions about the global season. We've obviously had some talks about how we see the English situation and it's early days," Ritchie said.

"It's a priority moving on. You've always got to have some elements of flexibility in an eight-year deal."