Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Summer Rugby needed to protect players and improve quality, says Solomons

Alan Solomons: Rugby needs a synchronised global season.
Alan Solomons: Rugby needs a synchronised global season.

Summer rugby and an integrated, synchronised global schedule – requiring the Six Nations to be switched to August – is needed to protect players and improve standards in the game, believes Edinburgh’s veteran coach Alan Solomons.

Solomons wants the sport played worldwide from March to November, and played in “ascending order” as in the Southern Hemisphere season; domestic game first, followed by European or cross-border competitions, culminating in test matches to end the season.

Such a plan would probably see the Six Nations the biggest annual tournament in terms of audience and financial return in rugby – moved out of its traditional February-March slot into August and September. But Solomons believes the current demands on players, specifically in this particular season, are damaging them.

The Edinburgh coach may be forced to field an under-strength team for this week’s European Challenge Cup tie at home against Agen because of a lengthy injury list and the statutory requirement to rest players.

“What we have at the moment is, for those who were involved in the Rugby World Cup, is a run of 16 back-to-back professional games,” he said. “Never in my career have I been involved in something like this.

“We are not the only club in the PRO12 with a long injury list, Glasgow and Scarlets, it’s all clubs, everyone is feeling the heat.”

Edinburgh, he continued, had been operating for much of the season with two fit locks in Anton Bresler and Alex Toolis with four others injured, including Grant Gilchrist who hasn’t played for the club for over a year because of injuries and academy player Lewis Carmichael, who Solomons had hoped to give some development game time.

“Sometimes you get lucky, but when you play this amount of rugby, back-to-back, it has to be expected,” he continued. “But Anton needs a rest, Cornell (du Preez) needs a rest, John Hardie needs a rest, Matty Scott needs a rest and something’s got to give.

“I understand this season it was the World Cup which was a great event and there was no alternative. But we have to look at ways we can avoid having 16 games back to back. In terms of player welfare, it’s not good, it’s just too much.

“This period has already been attritional and we still have three games of it to go.”

The way to organise it better believes Solomons, is follow the Southern Hemisphere’s schedule, because the European winter is not conducive to player health or to skill development, and it wouldn’t be practical for the Southern Hemisphere to fall in line with the North’s current schedule.

“I have always believed in a global season,” he said. “I believe we should play rugby from March to the end of November. The months of December, January and February are too cold here and the weather is not good enough.

“In any case, I was chatting to my youngest daughter yesterday in Cape Town and she was telling me it’s 40 in Cape Town at the moment; you can’t train and play rugby at 40.

“We should maybe look to a situation where you play all your domestic rugby first – PRO12, Premiership, Top 14, then you have your cross-border rugby and then you have your test rugby.

“Then when the tests are on you play a development competition for your young players. If you construct a season like that than the players will be fresh and I think will have a better quality of rugby.

The South African has been around the block too many times to not realise that there will be many in the North who oppose following the South’s plan, but he feels it would benefit the game especially with no Northern Hemisphere nation reaching the last four of last October’s World Cup.

“I don’t know if it could happen,” he continued. “I’m not a decision-maker, but I really do believe that it would be in the best interests of rugby everywhere to synchronise and have a global season so that everyone plays the domestic rugby at the same time, cross-border rugby at the same time and then test rugby at the same time.

“Players would get a decent break and a decent pre-season to prepare. Academy players, all your young boys, would get more games while the test window was on.

“I think it would be magic for the game.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in