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IRB search for seasons ‘integration’


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The International Rugby Board (IRB) met in Auckland on Tuesday, looking to take the first steps towards integrating the northern and southern hemisphere seasons.

This is to be done in a bid to reduce meaningless Tests between nations from the two hemispheres where under-strength sides are fielded.

Also on the agenda is player welfare and the ever-increasing length of the professional rugby player’s season.

IRB Chief Executive Mike Miller told Yahoo Xtra that there are nine proposals currently in front of the Board.

Miller also said that the IRB is aiming for an “integrated” rather than a “global” season.

“The reason why we’re not calling it a global season is because we don’t think it makes sense with the traditions and history of the different seasons to have one season where everyone plays the same type of rugby throughout the world at the same time of the year.

“It’s really more you’ve got two traditional seasons, one north and one south, and they need to be interlocked.

“It’s why we’ve chosen the word ‘integrated’ because it makes more sense to think about it that way. There may be some movement in the north and there may be some movement in the south in the way things are organised.

“We’ve seen in other sports in order to have a global season one of the hemispheres has had to move from its traditional playing time, and I don’t see that any of it has worked. As a matter of fact it’s been quite disastrous for some sports.”

Miller also dismissed rumours that the IRB is planning another Test world championship for the top teams between World Cups, as well as a world club competition.

But whatever the IRB resolves to do, it will be no quick fix, as Miller asserts that any changes are still a long way off.


365 Digital

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