By The Associated Press
Last Updated: 06/06/20 8:00 morning
Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read supports the call for an integrated international rugby season but fears money “coming out of the north” might thwart efforts to create a global calendar.
Read believes international rugby needs to move away from the current schedule which often forces players from both sides to play Test matches out of season, but fears of a richer northern hemisphere may continue to influence how the global calendar is organized.
At present, the Northern Hemisphere team is conducting tests in the Southern Hemisphere in June or July – at the end of their season – and the Southern Hemisphere toured in the North in November and December. The international windows, which fall in the middle of the Super Rugby season or European club season, substantially extend the season for top players.
Re-elected World Rugby Chair Sir Bill Beaumont has promised to work towards a more integrated calendar which provides space for the Six Nations tournament and the Rugby Championship Test and professional competitions in the northern and southern hemisphere.
Beaumont is a strong supporter of the world Test championship, although his efforts to build one year ago were stalled by a standoff over promotion-relegation.
Southern hemisphere countries oppose Beaumont’s re-election, supporting the nomination of Argentine Agustin Pichot’s reforms. In part, Beaumont is considered to represent the status quo and is too protective of the Six Nations tournament and the English and French club tournaments. He has made it clear that he will oppose any steps to reschedule the Six Nations, which feature Ireland, France, Italy, Wales, Scotland and England.
Read, who retired from the Rugby Test after last year’s World Cup in Japan and after leading the All Blacks in 52 of 127 tests, hopes an agreement can be reached that will better integrate the global season and give fans more interest.
“I want to see some sort of consistency around the season,” he told the Stuff news website on Tuesday.
“That would be better for everyone involved and especially for the players. So you don’t play outside the season, which shortens your season [and] which means you will not recover well and be ready for next year. “
Read also join many fans in the call for further tours by countries that are playing the test, a step away from the existing competition.
“I think the tour is important for international games,” he said. “The way I see it and the way the game makes money will determine and the money may come out of the north.
“The tour for me is more on the end of the year tour that we have to experience a little. It was the best time for a player and I think the fans might be able to feel it too. When you get a competitive series it certainly makes a pretty good display.”