Players threaten 'strike action'

Mon, 13 May 2013 09:08
Large rob nichol Large steve hansen presser2 Large rob nichol2

The head of New Zealand's Rugby Players Association said players could take strike action "as a last resort" to press claims for an integrated season.

The head of New Zealand's Rugby Players Association said international representative players could take strike action "as a last resort" to press claims for an integrated international season with fewer matches.

Rob Nichol said the International Rugby Players Association will meet on Australia's Gold Coast during next month's tour by the British and Irish Lions with moves to integrate the Northern and Southern Hemisphere seasons be on the agenda.

The IRPA will then raise the issue with the International Rugby Board in July.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen told New Zealand media Sunday that a demonstration of player power may be necessary to force the IRB to take steps to reduce demands on top players.

Nichol said the IRPA expects to find a solution before strike action was necessary.

An integrated international season would see northern and southern hemisphere competitions coordinated to allow all test matches to be played within the same window.

That is not currently possible because Europe's Six Nations competition is played in March and April and is not a suitable time frame for tests in the southern hemisphere.

Nichol said New Zealand players wanted their season to start later, allowing a longer gap between seasons, and has called for the elimination of the break in the Super Rugby season for June test matches.

The players instead want an established 16-week off-season instead of the current eight-week break.

He said the integration of the northern and southern seasons would not be possible before 2016 when current broadcasting agreements expire.

"We won't allow the game's administrators to follow amateur traditions that are no longer applicable," Nichol said. "That's not only competition structure but also commercial. We have to address it."

Hansen said demands on top players were too great.

"At the moment when it comes to the global season too many decisions are made around tradition rather than what is right for the athletes," he said.

SAPA-AP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 01 July 2016
Chiefs v Crusaders 07h35 Suva
Brumbies v Reds 09h40 Canberra
EP Kings v Griquas 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Blue Bulls v Boland 17h00 Loftus Versfeld
Sat, 02 July 2016
Sunwolves v Waratahs 05h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Blues 07h35 Wellington
Rebels v Stormers 09h40 Melbourne
Free State Cheetahs v Falcons 10h05 Bloemfontein
Golden Lions v Griffons 12h05 Johannesburg
Western Province v Eagles 13h00 Newlands
Namibia v Border 13h00 Windhoek
Cheetahs v Force 13h00 Bloemfontein
Sharks v Leopards 15h00 Durban
Kings v Highlanders 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Lions v Sharks 17h10 Johannesburg
Jaguares v Bulls 21h40 Buenos Aires
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 12 8 0 4 34
Waratahs 12 7 0 5 34
Rebels 12 6 0 6 27
Reds 12 3 1 8 16
Force 12 2 0 10 12
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 12 10 0 2 45
Chiefs 12 9 0 3 42
Hurricanes 12 8 0 4 40
Highlanders 12 8 0 4 38
Blues 12 6 1 5 30
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 12 7 1 4 36
Bulls 12 7 1 4 32
Cheetahs 12 3 0 9 17
Sunwolves 12 1 1 10 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 12 9 0 3 42
Sharks 12 7 1 4 35
Jaguares 12 2 0 10 14
Kings 12 2 0 10 9