Lions do themselves ‘damage’ with tour reduction talk, says Premiership Rugby

first_img Saracens fear salary cap rules could cost them homegrown stars like Maro Itoje Share on Messenger Share on Pinterest On Wednesday the Pro14 chief executive, Martin Anayi, said his organisation was more than willing to tweak its fixture schedule once every four years to give the Lions extra preparation time. But the Premiership is continuing to seek eight‑match tours, rather than 10, across five weeks as opposed to six. Furthermore, as part of the proposed changes to the global calendar – agreed at a World Rugby meeting in January – the Premiership plans to extend its season into June from 2020.“The Lions need to recognise they are doing themselves quite a lot of damage if they don’t engage in a more positive way. But that is for another three years’ time,” McCafferty said. “It’s very clear what was agreed. Nobody at the moment has approached us or contacted us, so at the moment as far as we’re concerned it’s all part of what was agreed under the auspices of World Rugby.“They [the Lions] need to contact us and if they deign to speak to us maybe we have got some things to talk about.“The Lions are absolutely a key part of the rugby makeup. I’m not sure they recognise everyone else is as well. The only people who have spoken out about their future is themselves. The Lions is great, it’s a fantastic brand, it’s a brilliant entity, we support it but everything has to have a balance and that’s what the discussions were about.“What the Pro14 wants to do is its call. There are a variety of solutions to it but people need to talk as ever. One of the other options may be for some of the unions involved to cancel one of their internationals that year. Those are the questions is there is a debate to be had.” England women’s rugby union team … we have a small favour to ask. 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We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Premiership Rugby union Women’s rugby union Read more Topics Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook British & Irish Lions Support The Guardian Sign up to the Breakdown for the latest rugby union news news Share on Twitter Share via Email Read more Share on WhatsApp McCafferty also acknowledged fears raised by the Saracens director of rugby, Mark McCall, that homegrown internationals such as Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje may leave amid soaring wage demands. McCall believes homegrown internationals should be at least partially exempt from the £7m salary cap, which currently includes £600,000 that accounts for “homegrown player credits”.McCafferty said: “We completely get the point, it’s not a new point, that’s why we brought the homegrown credits in, to try to give some flexibility for clubs that develop their own players. That’s one issue we’ll consider, we’ll go back to the board in April-May next year and decisions will be made.”Ben Youngs, meanwhile, has revealed his withdrawal from this year’s Lions tour was “a very easy decision”. Youngs pulled out after learning that his sister-in-law, Tiffany – the wife of his brother and Leicester captain, Tom – had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.“I ended up watching it as a fan,” Youngs said. “We all watched it as a family together. It would have been nice to be there but I wasn’t and I accepted that pretty easily. I never sat there thinking: ‘I wish I was out there.’“[I didn’t discuss the decision with Tom] because I didn’t want him to ever think that he influenced my decision. I didn’t want him to feel that he stopped me from doing something.“My brother is an incredible person. When you see him play you see 1% of it. It is his team-mates and people like myself who see it every day and you see what he does around the club and how he conducts himself and approaches situations likes he is dealing with.”Scott called into England’s World Cup final squad Danielle Waterman’s World Cup final heartbreak has opened the door to Emily Scott, who has been called into the England squad as a result. Waterman will miss the match against New Zealand in Belfast on Saturday after sustaining concussion during the semi-final victory against France. Scott had been ruled out of the tournament through injury but could find herself on bench duty with the England head coach, Simon Middleton, expected to consider the centre Emily Scarratt at full-back in place of Waterman and fielding Megan Jones alongside Rachel Burford in midfield. Sarah Hunter has warned England to focus on winning back‑to‑back World Cups before celebrating the feat. The captain said: “If we start thinking about what it would feel like to be double world champions, we will lose what’s important between now and then.” PA The Premiership Rugby chief executive, Mark McCafferty, has accused the British & Irish Lions of “doing themselves damage” by pointing the finger at plans to reduce the length of future tours. McCafferty also revealed the Premiership is not about to follow the Pro14’s lead by changing its schedule to allow the Lions greater preparation time in 2021, suggesting the home nations could cut their number of international matches instead.In New Zealand this year John Spencer, the Lions tour manager, repeatedly raised concerns over trimming future tours after Warren Gatland’s squad arrived three days before their first match. Spencer even went as far as to suggest that England players may be marginalised for future tours if the Premiership continues to dig its heels in. Since you’re here… Reuse this contentlast_img

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