RFU favours shortened Six Nations

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 19:47
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SIX NATIONS NEWS: Rugby Football Union chief executive Ian Ritchie insisted the governing body remained in favour of plans to reduce the duration of the Six Nations from seven to six weeks, despite opposition from leading players.

Harlequins prop Joe Marler, who helped England retain their Six Nations title, has said it is "ridiculous" to remove one of the tournament's two fallow weeks given the need for players to recover from the gruelling demands of modern Test matches.

But taking a week out of the tournament, as part of the new global season due to start after the 2019 World Cup, might make the Championship more commercially attractive and benefit countries such as England and France that have a large playing base. 

"No, it is not set in stone and it is still under discussion within the Six Nations. 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 understand the concerns from the other nations," Ritchie told a Twickenham news conference on Friday.

Of more immediate concern to Ritchie is next month's pool draw for the 2019 World Cup in Japan. At the last World Cup two years ago, tournament hosts England found themselves in a pool that also featured the Welsh and Australia.

It was immediately dubbed the 'group of death', with only the top two teams from each of the four pools going through to the quarter-finals.

And it certainly proved that way for England who, after losing to Wales and the Wallabies at Twickenham on successive weekends, became the first host nation not to qualify for the knockout stages of a World Cup.

"I am also thinking about the delights of the World Cup draw and let's hope we get a slightly better draw than the one we had the last time. At least our seeding position is in the right place," he added.

England's 2015 failure saw Stuart Lancaster sacked, with experienced Australian Eddie Jones brought in by Ritchie to replace him as England coach. Former Australia and Japan boss Jones has since led England to back-to-back Six Nations titles, with last month's loss to Ireland in Dublin the only blot on his Red Rose record. 

Agence France-Presse

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Wed, 31 May 2017
New Zealand U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
England U20 v Samoa U20 07h00 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v France U20 09h30 Tbilisi
Ireland U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
Australia U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
Fri, 02 June 2017
Blues v Reds 07h35 Auckland
Sat, 03 June 2017
Crusaders v Highlanders 02h35 Christchurch
Chiefs v Waratahs 05h05 Hamilton
NZ Barbarians v B&I Lions 07h35 Toll Stadium
Brumbies v Rebels 09h45 Canberra
Force v Hurricanes 11h35 Perth
Sun, 04 June 2017
Ireland U20 v Scotland U20 07h00 AIA Arena
Argentina U20 v France U20 07h00 Tbilisi
New Zealand U20 v Italy U20 09h30 AIA Arena
Australia U20 v Samoa U20 09h30 Tbilisi
South Africa U20 v Georgia U20 12h00 Tbilisi
England U20 v Wales U20 14h30 Tbilisi
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 28 May 2017
Lions v Kings 54 | 10
Sat, 27 May 2017
Jaguares v Brumbies 15 | 39
Munster v Scarlets 22 | 46
Sharks v Stormers 22 | 10
Wasps v Exeter Chiefs 20 | 23
Bulls v Hurricanes 20 | 34
Rebels v Crusaders 19 | 41
Highlanders v Waratahs 44 | 28
Sunwolves v Cheetahs 7 | 47
Fri, 26 May 2017
Reds v Force 26 | 40
Blues v Chiefs 16 | 16
Sun, 21 May 2017
Waratahs v Rebels 50 | 23
Sat, 20 May 2017
Kings v Brumbies 10 | 19
Munster v Ospreys 23 | 3
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 21 | 20
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0