The RFU has released information on new measures being taken to reduced player burnout and injury which will be introduced for the next three seasons.
Starting from next season, top-level rugby in England will see an imposed limit of 35 matches (longer than 20 minutes game-time) involvement by players per season. While England internationals will be restricted to 30, two fewer than it currently stands.
The RFU, Premiership Rugby and RPA have jointly-participated in forming the plans which will see the Premiership finale moved to June instead of May and the start of the new season due to begin no sooner than 12 weeks later.
“This is very much a partnership and this domestic season structure has been a collaboration between the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the RPA,” said RFU chief executive Steve Brown.
The Premiership final’s shift to a June dates of the 20th, 26th and 18th for the next three seasons means England’s summer tour schedule will now move to July and players who tour will still be entitled to a minimum five-week rest period.
Premiership Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty commented: “The professional game continues to develop quickly and we’ve worked extremely hard with the RPA and RFU over the last 18 months to achieve a number of progressive goals for the English structure over the next three seasons; building in new player management approaches, reducing overlaps and scheduling more of Gallagher Premiership Rugby for the better weather conditions of spring and early summer.”
The initiatives announcement go so far as to the next British & Irish Lions tour in South Africa in 2021. England players picked to take on the Springboks will be entitled to a one-week rest from the Red Roses’ autumn 2021 schedule off the back of a guaranteed ten-week break.
Without central contracts forming a part of English rugby’s 15-a-side structure, a panel formed of representatives from the three body’s who drew up the plans will be formed to ‘monitor and ensure compliance’ from club’s and the England coaching team.
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