RFU Wants Shorter Six Nations To Give Lions More Rest Before '21 Tour
The Rugby Football Union will push for the 2021 Six Nations to be "reduced from seven weeks to six as a means of giving English players an opportunity to prepare properly" for the Lions tour to South Africa in July of that year, according to Mick Cleary of the London TELEGRAPH. RFU interim CEO Nigel Melville, a former Lion, believes that the quick turnaround, between the Premiership final on June 26 and the first match of the tour seven days later, "places enormous pressure on England-based players." The RFU announced in October that it was "pressing ahead" with plans to restructure its domestic season, "even though it was obvious that the mid-September start and late-June finish would mean that training time with the Lions would be compromised" (TELEGRAPH, 12/5). In London, Chris Foy reported Melville said, "They need an extra week. If every four years we move the Six Nations from seven to six weeks, you create that. So why don't we do that? It would be better preparation for the Lions." However, the Welsh, Irish and Scottish unions have "previously resisted calls to shorten the Six Nations," as they "do not have the same depth of playing resources" (DAILY MAIL, 12/5).