After an endless round of debates and discussions the move to a Global Calendar was finally announced by World Rugby yesterday.
The big news? The June internationals move to July and the November fixtures go back a week!
If that was all that was required to make everyone happy I have to ask – why the fuck did it take so long and get so heated?
The effect is that Super Rugby now runs continuously and .. well, I’m not sure what else has really changed.
The announcement confirmed the benefit for Super Rugby and stated –
The optimised 2020-32 schedule sets new standards by prioritising rest periods, promoting equity for the sport’s emerging powers and harmonising the relationship between the international and domestic games. Optimised windows will aid the development of the club game
I’m obviously missing something and imagine that the NH will now adjust the domestic calendar in order to ensure a standard rest period – presumably May and June.
The detail is here –
New July window boosts season harmony
The optimised calendar retains three existing annual international windows (northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere and November), but the June window will be replaced by a new July window. This will enable the Super Rugby season to run uninterrupted and to optimise July tests preparation for all unions.
- July window to take place in the first three weeks of the month, comprising three tests (with the exception of the year after Rugby World Cup when SANZAAR unions will host two-test series)
- July window will enable Super Rugby to be completed before the tests, while promoting optimal preparation time for tests
- November window to move forward one week (first three weeks)
- Rugby World Cup window cemented within the calendar, kicking off one week earlier in the second week of September
- Optimised windows will aid the development of the club game
Hopefully I am being over cynical and it will all be okay when this comes in after the 2019 World Cup.
There was however some good news for the emerging nations –
Emerging rugby powers will be integrated into the July and November windows, providing annual opportunities against the SANZAAR and Six Nations unions across July and November. In addition, a rotation principle that includes emerging rugby powers will deliver greater schedule equity, promoting more meaningful, compelling fixtures and supporting World Rugby’s objective to increase the competitiveness of the global game:
- Record minimum of 110 tier one v tier two matches over the period as emerging rugby nations are integrated into the schedule throughout the period (a 39 per cent increase on the previous schedule)
- SANZAAR Unions committed to hosting tier two nations in July window, creating a blend of opposition
- France and England to tour the Pacific Islands while USA, Canada and Japan also host tours
- Georgia and Romania to host matches against Six Nations unions within the July window
- Ability for rankings to determine inclusion of tier two teams in the schedule after Rugby World Cup 2019 and 2023 tournaments to ensure top emerging teams at the time are provided with tier one opportunities based on merit
- Six Nations unions to collectively host a guaranteed minimum of six tier two fixtures in each November window
Now perhaps Georgia and the Pacific Island teams will get the opportunity to play Tier 1 teams on a regular basis – boosting their income, rankings and status in the game.
Good for World Rugby on that score.
Player welfare was also at the heart of the agreement and was supported unanimously.