Ireland’s players rebuff Six Nations restructuring

Ireland's players have unanimously rebuffed plans on a proposed rescheduling of the Six Nations whereby rest weeks are taken out of the schedule from 2020.

The findings of a survey done by the member association for Ireland's past and present professional rugby players, Rugby Players Ireland, have revealed that of the players surveyed, 93 percent of them were against the idea that the tournament, which is currently being played over seven weeks, be shortened to a five weeks.

With a new global season set to be introduced, the concept of a shortened championship was suggested by the RFU and the Premiership.

But Ireland captain Rory Best believes this is not a good idea.

"The intensity of the Six Nations Championship is like no other competition I have ever played in," he told RTE.

"It is important that the integrity of the Six Nations, from a spectator’s perspective, remains intact as far as possible.

"If it were to take place over a five or six-week period, players who pick up niggles during the tournament would struggle to return while those who take to the field every week would be fatigued to such an extent that it would undoubtedly impact on their involvement with their clubs once the tournament finishes."

The 34-year-old, who ihas represented his country in 12 Six Nations tournaments, said the competition has become tougher in recent years.

"With the introduction of the bonus-point system, every game counts more than ever before," he added.

"While we now have plenty of guys who can play their part, the bonus point system dictates that every game counts more than ever before.

"As one of the best supported competitions in the rugby calendar, every paying fan will expect to see the strongest sides week-in, week-out. It is important that the integrity of the Six Nations, from a spectator’s perspective, remains intact as far as possible."

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