Six Nations could move to April

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Gareth Davies has revealed that talks will be held later this month about revamping the Six Nations Championship.

A number of items will be discussed including adding bonus points, promotion and relegation and the idea of moving the tournament from February to April.

Moving the tournament one month is being considered as it would be a big step forward in creating a global season for the players.

Wales internationals started training in June 2015 and over the last year they played 18 Tests and Davies says that the current demands on players are “unsustainable”.

Newly appointed World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont has also said that moving the Six Nations to April “could be a solution” in a global calendar.

This is not the first time that moving the Six Nations has been on the agenda as it was discussed in 2003 amid concerns over fixture overlaps and clashes between clubs and countries.

In 2014 the Rugby Players’ Association, which represents players based in England, called for changes to be made to the playing calendar for the sake of player welfare.

Davies was with the Wales team in New Zealand last month where he held talks with Rugby Bosses.

“The main reason for the global season is player welfare, to try to cut down the numbers of games players are playing,” Davies told BBC Radio Wales.

“Our guys were in New Zealand in June, July. They started training the first week of June the previous year.

“The New Zealand guys couldn’t get over it. These guys had been going for 13 months playing international rugby – that is not sustainable.

“And it was a World Cup year and exceptional year etc, finishing with the New Zealand tour.”

Southern Hemisphere teams want to stop the June International tours as it disrupts the Super Rugby season and they would prefer the tours to be played after the Super Rugby final.

“Basically they want us to move a month or so so they can have a clear run-in.

“I think we see it, just moving three or four weeks is not going to help the northern hemisphere with player welfare, for example.

“So it is a bigger question than just the Six Nations. That is being looked at at the moment.

“There’s a Six Nations council meeting at the end of this month and this isn’t to fuel speculation, it is an annual review of where the Six Nations sits.

“So is it worth considering moving it? Do we look at bonus points, which is something that people have asked for to make it more exciting, scoring tries etc?

“Do we look at ‘is it a closed shop for Six Nations?’ Do we open the gates to Georgia, Romania or anybody else who is deemed worthy and is capable of being in there?

“So all those are up for grabs really.”

“Moving the Six Nations – I don’t see it as a problem if it helps other things.”

“I don’t think we need to move it for the sake of it because it does work where it is now – it gets huge following, huge TV audiences etc.

“But if it were necessary to move it in order that it were a piece of the jigsaw that enabled northern and southern hemispheres to have a coherent global season, then it’s worth doing.”

Players in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are in for another tough season as they will be pushing for places on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand next year.

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