• Premiership unhappy with Rugby Champs window

    Premiership Rugby has criticised World Rugby’s ‘unilateral decision’ to hold extra Test matches – including the Rugby Championship – during December.

    Premiership chiefs have taken exception to World Rugby’s plans to stage the Rugby Championship between 7 November and 12 December.

    The 2020-21 Premiership season is set to begin on 20 November. English clubs would therefore be without their southern-hemisphere players for one week of Premiership fixtures and the opening weekend of the European Champions Cup.

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    ‘Premiership Rugby now urges World Rugby to restart the global discussions to unify the unions and professional leagues and agree to a temporary plan that works for all,’ read a Premiership Rugby statement.

    ‘We regret World Rugby’s unilateral decision to impose changes in the international calendar on our clubs through a temporary amendment to regulation nine, when progress is being made with the RFU to reach a compromise for the benefit of all.

    ‘The confirmation from World Rugby that any change to regulation nine is a temporary measure for this year only and will not be used as a precedent for future calendar changes on a similar basis, is welcome.

    ‘Premiership Rugby and its clubs have already offered compromises and agreed to stretch the current international window from four weekends to six, offering a solution that would allow the completion of the Six Nations tournament, accommodate an extra game with England vs Barbarians, and allow for the four international matches in the November window.

    ‘The Premiership has also agreed to start the 2020-21 Gallagher Premiership Rugby season during the 2020 international window, on 20 November, to allow the campaign to be completed before next summer’s Lions tour.

    ‘So a further temporary amendment to regulation nine, which governs player release for Test matches, for weekends in December, would have a further impact on the Premiership and needs to be avoided.’

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    Photo: EPA/Jan Touzeau