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Post by Recwatcher16 on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 10:26 am

First topic message reminder :

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2017/01/25/elite-english-clubs-push-limit-six-nations-five-weeks/

A proposal to move the tournament to successive weekends - down from the current seven and original ten week tournament.
Would this counter SH demands to move the Six nations ?
Would this be even more attractive to sponsors in the next seemingly bumper TV/sponsorship deal?

It appears this is all part of the global season restructure discussions with both Tests outside international windows being banned and dropping NH summer tours in World Cup years, although not clear from article if that is before or after RWC's.

A good idea ? Builds tournament excitement ?
Gives leagues & euro cups some potential delineation towards the end of the crowded season ?

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Post by SecretFly on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 3:03 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:Yes fair enough - the clubs aren't perfect by any stretch but you do puff up some of the myths to suit a flawed status quo.
Unions that control and own the game is a conflict and business risk that many fans refuse to acknowledge or can't see. You better hope the Unions aren't dotty, mothballed, doddering amateur, blazer-bedecked clichés.

Well, our one isn't, Rec. I don't think any observer could look at our one and call it an obsolete old-folks home. And as I keep telling you, that's the only one I'm interested in.

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Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 3:06 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:Yes fair enough - the clubs aren't perfect by any stretch but you do puff up some of the myths to suit a flawed status quo.
Unions that control and own the game is a conflict and business risk that many fans refuse to acknowledge or can't see. You better hope the Unions aren't dotty, mothballed, doddering amateur, blazer-bedecked clichés.

It is less a conflict than having separate unions for clubs and international sides. You are just jealous that the system is such a mess in England.

The IRFU is a very progressive and extremely well run organisation. I think Philip Browne deserves a serious amount of credit.

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 3:08 pm

GunsGermsV2 wrote:
Recwatcher16 wrote:Yes fair enough - the clubs aren't perfect by any stretch but you do puff up some of the myths to suit a flawed status quo.
Unions that control and own the game is a conflict and business risk that many fans refuse to acknowledge or can't see. You better hope the Unions aren't dotty, mothballed, doddering amateur, blazer-bedecked clichés.

It is less a conflict than having separate unions for clubs and international sides. You are just jealous that the system is such a mess in England.

The IRFU is a very progressive and extremely well run organisation. I think Philip Browne deserves a serious amount of credit.

Anyone who has the vision to hire David Nucifora deserves praise, just right Guns Whistle

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Post by GunsGermsV2 on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 3:09 pm

Whats the beef with Nucifora?

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Post by marty2086 on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 3:12 pm

No idea what you mean, I was simply reaffirming your statement Whistle

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Post by mbernz on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 6:56 pm

I'd be in favour on a spectating basis, but it's understandable that players may be better served with a mid-championship pause. Aside from symmetry, I'm less understanding of the need for two breaks however, which does add something of a stutter to the flow. With the players not featuring in games the weekend before the championship starts, would 6 weeks with a break after 3 (the same number of consecutive matches most countries play in the AIs and summer tours) not be an acceptable compromise?

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Post by emack2 on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 11:37 pm

This is just a kite flying exercise the 6Ns is secondary to what the Clubs want,it won`t change.
Just like the talk about Bonus points,which isn`t happening this season[or so I read elsewhere]
today.
It is the only major tournament in which the bonus system isn`t used,it is certainly better than
points difference or the number of tries scored or whatever.
The 6 Ns is what it is because most of the teams are more or less on a par[2016] excepted
the previous 4 being decided on points difference.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 11:49 pm

mbernz wrote:I'd be in favour on a spectating basis, but it's understandable that players may be better served with a mid-championship pause.  Aside from symmetry, I'm less understanding of the need for two breaks however, which does add something of a stutter to the flow.  With the players not featuring in games the weekend before the championship starts, would 6 weeks with a break after 3 (the same number of consecutive matches most countries play in the AIs and summer tours) not be an acceptable compromise?

What compromise is being sought - that clubs get more opportunity to field already overplayed players at the expense of the national squads training time together? Should those who want to see Test rugby remain at the pinnacle of the game and want to see their national team have a better chance of lifting the RWC, be asking for additional weeks in the 6N rather than a cut?

The current 7 weeks is already an acceptable compromise, anything less (or more) would be unacceptable.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Thu 26 Jan 2017, 11:57 pm

emack2 wrote:This is just a kite flying exercise the 6Ns is secondary to what the Clubs want,it won`t change.
Just like the talk about Bonus points,which isn`t happening this season[or so I read elsewhere]
today.
It is the only major tournament in which the bonus system isn`t used,it is certainly better than
points difference or the number of tries scored or whatever.
The 6 Ns is what it is because most of the teams are more or less on a par[2016] excepted
the previous 4 being decided on points difference.

Think you're maybe looking for this thread -
http://www.606v2.com/t64610-6-nations-to-introduce-bonus-points-in-2017

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Post by No9 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:12 am

Dare say this may have been said on this thread, I haven't the time to read each post in detail, so if it has, my apologies for repeating.

We constantly hear it said that players wellbeing is foremost, which I believe it is. So loosing the "down weekends" and playing the tournament in one solid 5 week block, will remove that "rest time" that the players need to recover between international games. Surely, that isn't in the interest of player wellbeing, and for that alone, I say this would be a bad idea.

In the good old amateur days of the 5 Nations when it was a game every 2 weeks (with one being 4 due to the number of teams), the players had good recovery times, and with the exception of serious injuries such as fractures, players where always available to play and not out due to muscle injuries, stingers, etc.. In the new pro-era, players have so much more intensive training and more games, plus the game has got faster and tougher, so surly the answer is to give the players more rest bite between the internationals not less. I personally, think the 6 Nations should be extended (time wise) to be every 2 weeks again. It will play hell with other fixtures, but perhaps they should be played to fit it, with some games happening on international weekends, as some league games happen now. There is an argument that this will force clubs to develop their squads more, so that they have the player base to cover loss of international players, in that in turn will give more game time to "developing" squad players and in turn more competition for the international places... and so on...

So maybe, rather than trying to condense the windows of the tournaments (for clarity, when I say tournaments I mean the 6 Nations), they should be looking to extending (within reason) to protect the wellbeing of the players involved and increase the clubs quality in their squads, in turn developing more top players.

Just a thought....


Last edited by No9 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:58 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Cyril on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:17 am

The Great Aukster wrote:OK we know the clubs want to disband Test rugby altogether, but someone should tell them that if the goose is kept alive they actually get more gold in the long run.
Isn't the club game the goose and internationals the golden egg?

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:52 am

The world cup will last all year.

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Post by No9 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:56 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:The world cup will last all year.

Guess that was a reply to my post.. If it was, I wasn't referring to the RWC, but the 6 Nations as that was the discussion point I believe. The RWC is a one off tournament every 4 years, which the rest of the rugby calendar works around. There is no reason to change that format.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:59 am

It was a general point. We don't seem to have to consider club just internationals. Your points about internationals while I don't quite agree with then would surely cross over to all internationals surely. Why are 6Ns matches different to the world cup with a potential much longer string of games.

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Post by No9 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 11:26 am

The RWC isnt different from the point of view of player rest, in fact its worse, with often 6 day turn-rounds. But without cutting back the number of teams or drastically changing its format, its something we have to accept if we want it to continue. As its only once every 4 years, we have to consider those players selected have a "longer" break from domestic leagues, and the nations to make better use of squads. But there will never be a perfect answer to this.

As for 6 Nations, it is a annual event, and the discussion on this thread was about condensing it into 5 weeks. I'm saying that isnt the right answer and that it should be extended back to 10 weeks (game every 2 weeks), for the reasons I have said.

I'm not ignoring club demands, but they are seasonal (ie for the season), and as such have the bigger impact on player wellbeing. They need to ensure a better squad with efficient player rotation to ensure players get rest. They should be doing this now, but it is far too easy for them to avoid this, saying that player X (to avoid names or inference to actual clubs) is a top player and hence has to play. If they increase their squads, and properly rotate players to increase game time, they are more likely to get more of the quality of player X.

Its all about developing, and not constraining what you have at the moment.

I know its not popular, nothing ever will. But just condensing the 6 Nations isn't going to help.

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Post by SecretFly on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 11:38 am

You know what happens when they condense orange juice; a putrid thick paste of bitter acidic vomit that bears no resemblance in either taste or looks to anything that comes from an orange.

You have been warned.

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Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 12:08 pm

Pressures on from everywhere to fit games together and bring seasons more into line mean you're never going back to an extended version of the 6Ns and I don't think it would be fair on clubs to go back to that.

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Post by No9 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 12:27 pm

I agree they wont go back.. I was just stating my opinion, that condensing further isn't a good idea, and that IMO it should be put back to every 2 weeks.

But I realise that wont happen...

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Post by B91212 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 4:08 pm

I fully understand what your saying about playing every 2 weeks but back then all players went back to their clubs on the off week anyway so they didn't get a week off anyway. Granted the intensity and attrition wasn't anything like what it is in today's game.

I understand that some players are still expected to return to their club sides (some Scottish, Italian and maybe the French?) but I think that will fade out somewhat over the next few years. Say Finn Russell does move to England or France in the close season then there is no way a club will refuse to sign him because wants to stay with his national team for the duration of the 6N.

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Post by B91212 on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 4:21 pm

Scottrf wrote:I'm mixed. I'd appreciate that it would disrupt the league less, and probably makes for a more engaging tournament but maybe it weakens the ability of teams to play their best players.
Kind of where I stand on it as well. I find that the 3rd game seems isolated and the first 2 and last 2 weekends are maybe more exciting from a fan point of view. But at the same time I want to see the best players, nothing worse than devaluing games. Maybe just a one week break after the 3rd game would be better? 3 weeks on the bounce like the AI's (should be) and then a week off before the final 2 rounds. Think would would work better and be a somewhat compromise between commercial pressure, fan excitement and player welfare. Would be better yet if the unions could then somehow agree to rest their players for the first club game after the tournament (fat chance).

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Post by mbernz on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 5:30 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
mbernz wrote:I'd be in favour on a spectating basis, but it's understandable that players may be better served with a mid-championship pause.  Aside from symmetry, I'm less understanding of the need for two breaks however, which does add something of a stutter to the flow.  With the players not featuring in games the weekend before the championship starts, would 6 weeks with a break after 3 (the same number of consecutive matches most countries play in the AIs and summer tours) not be an acceptable compromise?

What compromise is being sought - that clubs get more opportunity to field already overplayed players at the expense of the national squads training time together? Should those who want to see Test rugby remain at the pinnacle of the game and want to see their national team have a better chance of lifting the RWC, be asking for additional weeks in the 6N rather than a cut?

The current 7 weeks is already an acceptable compromise, anything less (or more) would be unacceptable.

The compromise I'm specifying is between spectator enjoyment (other views may well differ) and player welfare. I'm not adverse to pauses in the tournament, but am not a fan of the current 2-1-2 rhythm, which seems to be primarily based on symmetry. That middle isolated match always feels a bit incongruous to me, falling away too quickly after a reiteration. I also feel that players performances are usually enhanced within consecutive weekends. If 2 weekend breaks between 5 annual internationals were required for player welfare, I'd personally prefer to see them as a block of 2 in the middle of a 3-2 or 2-3 schedule. If the player rests didn't need to be central, I'd opt for a longer compulsory pause for squads before the championship began.

You raise the question of what better prepares teams for the RWC, which is 7 matches in 5 weeks. The 5 matches in 5 weeks proposed in the article would be a closer simulation, but I'd question its annual sustainabilty for the players. Happily led by evidence to the contrary however.

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Post by Pot Hale on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 7:23 pm

This is a proposal from English elite clubs in Premiership. Of which there are about 3-4.

So 4 clubs out of 38 think the Six Nations should be condensed. Their own representative body and the English RFU wouldn't comment and the other RFUs have made no comment.

Why do people think this has any legs?

It is only for the benefit of 3-4 clubs.
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Post by The Great Aukster on Fri 27 Jan 2017, 10:13 pm

mbernz wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
mbernz wrote:I'd be in favour on a spectating basis, but it's understandable that players may be better served with a mid-championship pause.  Aside from symmetry, I'm less understanding of the need for two breaks however, which does add something of a stutter to the flow.  With the players not featuring in games the weekend before the championship starts, would 6 weeks with a break after 3 (the same number of consecutive matches most countries play in the AIs and summer tours) not be an acceptable compromise?

What compromise is being sought - that clubs get more opportunity to field already overplayed players at the expense of the national squads training time together? Should those who want to see Test rugby remain at the pinnacle of the game and want to see their national team have a better chance of lifting the RWC, be asking for additional weeks in the 6N rather than a cut?

The current 7 weeks is already an acceptable compromise, anything less (or more) would be unacceptable.

The compromise I'm specifying is between spectator enjoyment (other views may well differ) and player welfare.  I'm not adverse to pauses in the tournament, but am not a fan of the current 2-1-2 rhythm, which seems to be primarily based on symmetry.  That middle isolated match always feels a bit incongruous to me, falling away too quickly after a reiteration.  I also feel that players performances are usually enhanced within consecutive weekends.  If 2 weekend breaks between 5 annual internationals were required for player welfare, I'd personally prefer to see them as a block of 2 in the middle of a 3-2 or 2-3 schedule. If the player rests didn't need to be central, I'd opt for a longer compulsory pause for squads before the championship began.

You raise the question of what better prepares teams for the RWC, which is 7 matches in 5 weeks.  The 5 matches in 5 weeks proposed in the article would be a closer simulation, but I'd question its annual sustainabilty for the players.  Happily led by evidence to the contrary however.

Disagree that the condensed version is a closer simulation because two of the RWC pool games are usually against much weaker opposition and there isn't the home/away factor. Add to that the players have a longer build-up together before the tournament and the players aren't in the middle of a club season so there is really no comparison. In the RWC the winner will have had four or five tough games in seven weeks, but the chances are that only one will have been in front of a partisan opposition crowd.
The current 6N format is much closer to what the teams can expect in a RWC than a condensed version.

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Post by nlpnlp on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 12:21 am

The move to successive weekends would be a killer for players - so for that reason I am out. 5 games over 7 weeks is as good as it can be and keeps the TV audiences interested. As has been said - who cares what the Southern hemisphere want, they don't pay the bills. You play successive weeks then teams will have to play second/third team players which would suit England and France.

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Post by mbernz on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 1:12 am

The Great Aukster wrote:
mbernz wrote:
The Great Aukster wrote:
mbernz wrote:I'd be in favour on a spectating basis, but it's understandable that players may be better served with a mid-championship pause.  Aside from symmetry, I'm less understanding of the need for two breaks however, which does add something of a stutter to the flow.  With the players not featuring in games the weekend before the championship starts, would 6 weeks with a break after 3 (the same number of consecutive matches most countries play in the AIs and summer tours) not be an acceptable compromise?

What compromise is being sought - that clubs get more opportunity to field already overplayed players at the expense of the national squads training time together? Should those who want to see Test rugby remain at the pinnacle of the game and want to see their national team have a better chance of lifting the RWC, be asking for additional weeks in the 6N rather than a cut?

The current 7 weeks is already an acceptable compromise, anything less (or more) would be unacceptable.

The compromise I'm specifying is between spectator enjoyment (other views may well differ) and player welfare.  I'm not adverse to pauses in the tournament, but am not a fan of the current 2-1-2 rhythm, which seems to be primarily based on symmetry.  That middle isolated match always feels a bit incongruous to me, falling away too quickly after a reiteration.  I also feel that players performances are usually enhanced within consecutive weekends.  If 2 weekend breaks between 5 annual internationals were required for player welfare, I'd personally prefer to see them as a block of 2 in the middle of a 3-2 or 2-3 schedule. If the player rests didn't need to be central, I'd opt for a longer compulsory pause for squads before the championship began.

You raise the question of what better prepares teams for the RWC, which is 7 matches in 5 weeks.  The 5 matches in 5 weeks proposed in the article would be a closer simulation, but I'd question its annual sustainabilty for the players.  Happily led by evidence to the contrary however.

Disagree that the condensed version is a closer simulation because two of the RWC pool games are usually against much weaker opposition and there isn't the home/away factor. Add to that the players have a longer build-up together before the tournament and the players aren't in the middle of a club season so there is really no comparison. In the RWC the winner will have had four or five tough games in seven weeks, but the chances are that only one will have been in front of a partisan opposition crowd.
The current 6N format is much closer to what the teams can expect in a RWC than a condensed version.

The 2 fortnight gaps between matches of the 6N is considerably easier than what the RWC demands of players regarding duration. There are at least 5 tough matches in 6 weeks for the RWC finalists, and those matches can be as little as 5 days apart in the pool stage. At least 3 of those tough matches would be in succession in the knockout stage, quite possibly all 5 depending on the pool schedule. Australia had their 5 biggest matches in 4 weeks on the way to the final in 2015, their last 2 pool matches being against the pool's highest ranked teams (the same was true for Scotland and Ireland in their pools).

Again, not that simulation of the RWC is the reason I advocated change to the schedule. As I stated, I'd not be adverse to a longer pause before or in the middle of the championship if necessary. It's the stop-start nature of 2 breaks either side of the isolated third fixture that I feel affects the building of team performance and sense of the championship. I'd prefer 2 runs of consecutive matches, with whatever breaks between and around them was deemed of benefit to the players.


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Post by The Great Aukster on Sun 29 Jan 2017, 9:43 am

mbernz wrote:The 2 fortnight gaps between matches of the 6N is considerably easier than what the RWC demands of players regarding duration.  There are at least 5 tough matches in 6 weeks for the RWC finalists, and those matches can be as little as 5 days apart in the pool stage.  At least 3 of those tough matches would be in succession in the knockout stage, quite possibly all 5 depending on the pool schedule.  Australia had their 5 biggest matches in 4 weeks on the way to the final in 2015, their last 2 pool matches being against the pool's highest ranked teams (the same was true for Scotland and Ireland in their pools).

Again, not that simulation of the RWC is the reason I advocated change to the schedule.  As I stated, I'd not be adverse to a longer pause before or in the middle of the championship if necessary.  It's the stop-start nature of 2 breaks either side of the isolated third fixture that I feel affects the building of team performance and sense of the championship.  I'd prefer 2 runs of consecutive matches, with whatever breaks between and around them was deemed of benefit to the players.

The All Blacks schedule was: Argentina, Namibia, Georgia, Tonga. France, SA, Australia - most fans would not say that was "at least 5 tough matches" over the seven weeks. However I take the point that if a team is unfortunate to be in a 'group of death' and with a bad schedule there is a chance they could face a succession of tough games. The big difference is that the RWC is in isolation to club rugby, the 6N is in the middle of the club season so those demands will also be affecting players.

Regarding "the stop-start nature" of the breaks, in the RWC there are some games that are ridiculously close together so teams are forced to play different players, so is this better or worse for team performance than the 6N where all the players will be playing/training together in the 'rest' weekends?

If 6N attendances were declining and TV rights were becoming harder to sell then change might be called for, but while it continues to get high ratings and there is no evidence that shortening the tournament would be of any benefit, why change it?

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Post by mbernz on Mon 30 Jan 2017, 2:48 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
mbernz wrote:The 2 fortnight gaps between matches of the 6N is considerably easier than what the RWC demands of players regarding duration.  There are at least 5 tough matches in 6 weeks for the RWC finalists, and those matches can be as little as 5 days apart in the pool stage.  At least 3 of those tough matches would be in succession in the knockout stage, quite possibly all 5 depending on the pool schedule.  Australia had their 5 biggest matches in 4 weeks on the way to the final in 2015, their last 2 pool matches being against the pool's highest ranked teams (the same was true for Scotland and Ireland in their pools).

Again, not that simulation of the RWC is the reason I advocated change to the schedule.  As I stated, I'd not be adverse to a longer pause before or in the middle of the championship if necessary.  It's the stop-start nature of 2 breaks either side of the isolated third fixture that I feel affects the building of team performance and sense of the championship.  I'd prefer 2 runs of consecutive matches, with whatever breaks between and around them was deemed of benefit to the players.

The All Blacks schedule was: Argentina, Namibia, Georgia, Tonga. France, SA, Australia - most fans would not say that was "at least 5 tough matches" over the seven weeks. However I take the point that if a team is unfortunate to be in a 'group of death' and with a bad schedule there is a chance they could face a succession of tough games. The big difference is that the RWC is in isolation to club rugby, the 6N is in the middle of the club season so those demands will also be affecting players.

Regarding "the stop-start nature" of the breaks, in the RWC there are some games that are ridiculously close together so teams are forced to play different players, so is this better or worse for team performance than the 6N where all the players will be playing/training together in the 'rest' weekends?

If 6N attendances were declining and TV rights were becoming harder to sell then change might be called for, but while it continues to get high ratings and there is no evidence that shortening the tournament would be of any benefit, why change it?

Because I believe it would improve the feel of the championship and team performances. Evidence to that effect would be near impossible to produce unless tested. Two matches in succession is good enough for the beginning and end of the 6N though (the better sections to my mind).

Improvements should always be sought, and not reliant on negative nudges. Some may well disagree to my sequence, but there have been a fair few on this topic that have said they think changes to the 2-1-2 schedule could be of benefit.

I would like it to be something that is at least examined and maybe tested when the global season is finally restructured. Reserve the same 7 weekend window in the season for the championship, but test it with a weekend break before it begins or 2 weekends between matches 3 & 4. It could work particularly well depending on what other competitions are scheduled to take place before or after in the restructure. If it doesn't work, revert to previous.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Tue 31 Jan 2017, 1:44 pm

mbernz wrote:Because I believe it would improve the feel of the championship and team performances.  Evidence to that effect would be near impossible to produce unless tested.  Two matches in succession is good enough for the beginning and end of the 6N though (the better sections to my mind).

Improvements should always be sought, and not reliant on negative nudges.  Some may well disagree to my sequence, but there have been a fair few on this topic that have said they think changes to the 2-1-2 schedule could be of benefit.

I would like it to be something that is at least examined and maybe tested when the global season is finally restructured. Reserve the same 7 weekend window in the season for the championship, but test it with a weekend break before it begins or 2 weekends between matches 3 & 4.  It could work particularly well depending on what other competitions are scheduled to take place before or after in the restructure.  If it doesn't work, revert to previous.

How do you measure the "feel of the championship and team performances"? If they can't be quantified then improvement also can't be measured, so how do you know if a change has 'worked' or not? Change shouldn't be brought in just for the sake of change because it is not painless and may not be reversible, so a coherent case backed by evidence should be presented before tinkering with a successful tournament.

Why would evidence be near impossible to produce - it is relatively straightforward to carry out a poll or write to sponsors/broadcasters/unions etc. to find out their stance on any proposed change before pulling the pin to see what happens.

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Post by mbernz on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 8:59 pm

The Great Aukster wrote:
mbernz wrote:Because I believe it would improve the feel of the championship and team performances.  Evidence to that effect would be near impossible to produce unless tested.  Two matches in succession is good enough for the beginning and end of the 6N though (the better sections to my mind).

Improvements should always be sought, and not reliant on negative nudges.  Some may well disagree to my sequence, but there have been a fair few on this topic that have said they think changes to the 2-1-2 schedule could be of benefit.

I would like it to be something that is at least examined and maybe tested when the global season is finally restructured. Reserve the same 7 weekend window in the season for the championship, but test it with a weekend break before it begins or 2 weekends between matches 3 & 4.  It could work particularly well depending on what other competitions are scheduled to take place before or after in the restructure.  If it doesn't work, revert to previous.

How do you measure the "feel of the championship and team performances"? If they can't be quantified then improvement also can't be measured, so how do you know if a change has 'worked' or not? Change shouldn't be brought in just for the sake of change because it is not painless and may not be reversible, so a coherent case backed by evidence should be presented before tinkering with a successful tournament.

Why would evidence be near impossible to produce - it is relatively straightforward to carry out a poll or write to sponsors/broadcasters/unions etc. to find out their stance on any proposed change before pulling the pin to see what happens.

Those opinions should of course, and indeed would need to be sought.  That's not the evidence of effect that I mentioned though.  The stakeholders could all be in favour of change, but it would still only be educated speculation until implemented.  Particularly in the context of the wider changes to come under the global season rescheduling.

My question to you would be that if as I suggested the same 7 weekend window as present was maintained, what do you believe would be the negative outcome on the championship of having games in runs rather than one in isolation in the middle?

Do you think that rugby supporters prefer more breaks between rounds?  The most important question for me would be the effect on the players, but my feeling is that an extra week before or 2 week break in the middle would likely be of greater benefit to them, and games in runs would allow them to generate better rhythm in their performances.  Do you believe that teams perform better in more widely spaced individual matches rather than small runs?

As I stated in my previous post, maintaining that 7 weekend window means it could always easily revert to the previous format if it was deemed preferable.  Evidence in review would show if teams believed it had benefitted them or had any effects on audiences.

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Post by The Great Aukster on Wed 01 Feb 2017, 10:23 pm

Maybe I missed it but were opinions sought for the introduction of bonus points into the 6N? There has to be a real chance the 'trial' will come and go without learning anything from it.

Regarding the issues I have already posted:
The Great Aukster wrote:What a terrible idea!

The one advantage is that the clubs can flog their Test players outside the International window because they would be available, when they aren't now. Now that's a goal to strive for.  Rolling Eyes

The disadvantages?
As has been mentioned the smaller nations don't have the playing numbers of England and France, so the rest weeks are invaluable to get the best quality teams on the pitch to make the games competitive. A player injured in the first game now has two weeks more to recover in time for the grand finale.
The Pro12 nations not only don't have the depth of England and France, they also have far more Test players per club team. Having five Tests in five weeks not only increases their risk of injury but also increases their recovery time so impinging on their club season further that it does now.
Then there is the issue of when the competition will be staged - will the games be brought back to February or moved forward to March? Either way the nature of the competition will be affected. Currently part of the charm of the 6N is that it starts in Winter and finishes in Spring - a test of different skills and resilience.
The punctuation in the tournament adds to the spectacle just as an interval does in a play. The final two weeks increase the hype rather than take away from it, and gives fans an extra week to pay even more extortionate amounts to secure tickets and make plans.
Then what about the RFU - having the extra two weeks gives them more time to get the Grand Slam winners 'T' shirts from China, and also more chance to cancel should the unthinkable happen...

OK we know the clubs want to disband Test rugby altogether, but someone should tell them that if the goose is kept alive they actually get more gold in the long run.

This explains the objections to having a 'rest' weekend before the start of the 6N. Some nations also have this before it anyway so including that in the official window would effectively reduce their quota from three to two.

Having two rest weekends in a row in the middle means actually having a three week gap between games, which would certainly kill the momentum for the general public.

So the other alternatives to having weekends 3&5 as the breaks, would be 2&4; 2&5; 2&6 and 3&6, none of which would offer any significant advantage.

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Post by mbernz on Thu 02 Feb 2017, 3:11 pm

We clearly part company on the idea that the double break and multiple stop-start nature of the middle of the championship adds to its enjoyment.  It's always been where it tends to the uneven for me, and team performances suffer.

If 2 weekends off in the middle were required, we again clearly differ.  Rather than a stutter, I would prefer a longer, cleaner pause to allow the building of performance in runs of games (other sports and competitions have similar or longer pauses and still maintain strong audience interest), as well as suspecting that it would greater benefit those players carrying niggles.

The preference I originally stated however, was for the extra week to be at the beginning.  There is no reason why the nations that already afford their players a weekend off before the 6N window (internationals don't play in the AW, so pretty much everyone aside from France) can't and wouldn't continue to do so with one built into the beginning.  Longer prep is treasured by coaches & unions, and could be made a precept of the season restructuring to aid elite player welfare.

I think it's of benefit that the scheduling will be reconsidered within the context of changes to the season structure.  It's important that the key stakeholders are allowed to make a decision on what best suits them (in particular the national teams and players).

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Post by robbo277 on Fri 03 Feb 2017, 12:19 pm

If it's about the flow of the tournament, I don't know why we don't play two games a week and then 3 on the final weekend. Same 7 weeks, but you've always got some rugby.

Or go 3, 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 3 if you're a fan of symmetry.

Generates interest across the 7 weeks, but frees up some viewing time for women's, Under 20s, A team fixtures and/or ENC games.

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