More Premiership players talking of strike action

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More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Rugby Fan on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 1:34 pm

When World Rugby announced a new structure to the season it looked very much like the north had drawn the short straw. Pushing the June internationals to July worked fine for splitting Super Rugby and Test rugby but just added a month to the season for overworked elite Northern players.

The Pro12(14) teams quickly spoke of moving the start of their season to keep a decent break but the English Premiership hasn't countenanced any change. Now the players are getting more vocal with their objections.

Players rep Christian Day was quick out of the blocks to put his objections, and he was backed up by retired stars like Alex Corbisiero. This season, however, current England squad members like Courtney Lawes, Mike Brown and Billy Vunipola, have all spoken out. Billy, in fact, is complaining that current demands are too heavy.

"Something is going to give. Something might happen where we follow the NFL or NBA, where they had a lock-out. I'm not saying I'm going to start it, but I feel like something needs to happen for the suits to realise these guys are serious.

"It comes down to how much we play. My body could not handle it. I might think I'm strong and tough but I'm not. I just got worn down.

"The suits are always talking about it but they have never played nine months in today's rugby. It's something I would love to change - play less."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2017/09/15/billy-vunipola-warns-possible-strike-player-burn-out/

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by BamBam on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 1:36 pm

Reducing matches reduces revenue which reduces player wages

I completely understand the requirement for more rest, but when it comes down to it will players be willing to take pay cuts?

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by RugbyFan100 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 1:38 pm

Far too much test rugby being played.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by profitius on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 2:01 pm

Rugby Fan wrote:When World Rugby announced a new structure to the season it looked very much like the north had drawn the short straw. Pushing the June internationals to July worked fine for splitting Super Rugby and Test rugby but just added a month to the season for overworked elite Northern players.


Yes, extending an already long season was insane. And for international players, not only did they agree to play international matches in july but they brought forward the november tests by a few weeks which means the internationals will mean the internationals get an even smaller summer break or play the november tests undercooked. All because the southern hemisphere didn't want one break in the super rugby season.
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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Fuzzy Dunlop on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 2:21 pm

I have to admit I agree with you BamBam. Whilst I have a lot of sympathy for the players I always wonder what they are actually doing to combat this. Every time a player sends his agent in to get as much money as possible they must be aware that it will have a direct impact on squad depth and thus mean more game time.

The players have a union, I wonder if they have ever offered a cap on individual salaries in return for a reduction in game time?

Billy wrote:Everyone complains that they keep pushing the salary cap up but we need more players. It's not about money, it's about the toil we're put through

The Tigers CEO has said that the rise in salary cap hasn't led to more players, it's been taken up entirely by wage inflation. Looking across the squads none of them look any stronger now than they did before the substantial increases to the cap.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 2:27 pm

RugbyFan100 wrote:Far too much test rugby being played.

How many players actually play test rugby?

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by RugbyFan100 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 2:56 pm

marty2086 wrote:
RugbyFan100 wrote:Far too much test rugby being played.

How many players actually play test rugby?

794

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 2:58 pm

RugbyFan100 wrote:
marty2086 wrote:
RugbyFan100 wrote:Far too much test rugby being played.

How many players actually play test rugby?

794

That's a very accurate number

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by gcBlues on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:00 pm

BamBam wrote:Reducing matches reduces revenue which reduces player wages

I completely understand the requirement for more rest, but when it comes down to it will players be willing to take pay cuts?

Depends which matches are reduced. Club rugby in England and france does not need International game money with tv rights now becoming bigger and bigger.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:04 pm

gcBlues wrote:
BamBam wrote:Reducing matches reduces revenue which reduces player wages

I completely understand the requirement for more rest, but when it comes down to it will players be willing to take pay cuts?

Depends which matches are reduced.  Club rugby in England and france does not need International game money with tv rights now becoming bigger and bigger.

Were the AP teams not saying only a few weeks ago the RFU needs to pay more?

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:05 pm

So you could reduce the number of matches england play and then saracens would obviously not include vunipola et al in their normal match day squad?

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:09 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:So you could reduce the number of matches england play and then saracens would obviously not include vunipola et al in their normal match day squad?

Obviously the clubs are more altruistic and empathetic and will send them home with a new pair of slippers to put their feet up

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:10 pm

Yeah! It does need wr the unions and the leaders of the leagues round a table and for some frank talks on what each is prepared to concede.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:24 pm

The problem is that each player is different, up until the end of last season Jamie Heaslip seemed indestructible and could play weekly without a problem then you have someone like Tuilagi who is made of glass

Applying a blanket approach might not address the core issues, clubs and unions apparently track many variables during training and games. Surely some of those indicate fatigue etc? Why aren't they used to assess a players readiness to play or need to be rested?

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:32 pm

I think they are. Overall though the benefit is there from.reducing matches overall. Besides the argument of injury etc the quality of rugby takes a dip. Look at someone like george who was amazing up until about may then looked a shadow of what he was. Sometimes you have to say quality over quantity and to my mind it's that argument which is more powerful to the 'suits'.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by marty2086 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:41 pm

They obviously aren't though if players are dropping off at stages, it seems the obvious examples seem to be coming from Sarries though

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by No 7&1/2 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 3:53 pm

Saracens have one of the best rotations processes around. When you have players playing across the 2 premier comps and then internationals you will.see the effects no matter what. If they are getting to finals and not winning again and player fatigue contributes you'll see more talk of rest weeks.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by kingelderfield on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 4:58 pm

I suspect the argument and therefore agreement/resolution will be along the lines or reducing the overall number of games played by individual players. Which may sound all well and good, but the reality is that this will result in the reduction of the quality of the various competitions and so will reduce the games attractiveness, which will have its resultant commercial impact. Where in fact what needs to be recognised is that the overall number of games needs to be reduced and the quality of the product improved. While the NFL is not a strait forward comparison, it is undoubtedly a successful business model that proves the point of quality over quantity (please no welfare comparisons as that is a different argument).
Furthermore in regards of quality, costs and player exposure/welfare, the current game day bench should be reduced to 3 forwards (prop, hooker and other) and 1 back. This would encourage smaller more athletic players and create more space on the pitch, which is currently filled by the 40/50 minute monsters and their finishing squad brethren who are trending towards bigger and bigger impact players. We need to expose the mega-lumps to a faster more aerobic and hopefully more skill game. I'm not advocating rugby league but neither am I comfortable with the bulk over skill projector y that the game appears fixed upon.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by profitius on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 5:19 pm

kingelderfield wrote:I suspect the argument and therefore agreement/resolution will be along the lines or reducing the overall number of games played by individual players. Which may sound all well and good, but the reality is that this will result in the reduction of the quality of the various competitions and so will reduce the games attractiveness, which will have its resultant commercial impact. Where in fact what needs to be recognised is that the overall number of games needs to be reduced and the quality of the product improved. While the NFL is not a strait forward comparison, it is undoubtedly a successful business model that proves the point of quality over quantity (please no welfare comparisons as that is a different argument).
Furthermore in regards of quality, costs and player exposure/welfare, the current game day bench should be reduced to 3 forwards (prop, hooker and other) and 1 back. This would encourage smaller more athletic players and create more space on the pitch, which is currently filled by the 40/50 minute monsters and their finishing squad brethren who are trending towards bigger and bigger impact players. We need to expose the mega-lumps to a faster more aerobic and hopefully more skill game. I'm not advocating rugby league but neither am I comfortable with the bulk over skill projector y that the game appears fixed upon.


+1
I've said for year that reducing the number of subs allowed would automatically results in size reduction. They could have 8 or 9 replacements on the bench but only allowed to bring on 4 or 5. I think that would cover any injuries AND mean that nearly all players would need to last 80 min AND it would mean coaches would be less inclined to rush back injured players.


Reducing the number of games is also something that should be looked at too. The pro14 have said that is one of their long term goals but the AP are talking about having more games.
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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Pot Hale on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 5:24 pm

There is a link between how many games an Irish player is available to play and how much they are paid.
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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Pot Hale on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 6:28 pm

Before re-drawing the entire Northern Hemisphere schedule, is this an issue only for the English Premiership test players/squad members? As opposed to entire squads of 40 clubs?
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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Recwatcher16 on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 7:22 pm

Of course the elite players in England & France are playing too many games. The question is whether by reducing club games that leaves the bulk of players with enough matches or reducing the numbers of Test games is the way to go.

It won't happen but believe the quality / excitement would rise if both club and Test games were reduced.

English Clubs should get rid of LV and Euro games but include a knockout FA cup comp for junior players against Championship clubs.
Tests should be reduced to a maximum of nine per season. Six nations plus two AIs and two summer tests.
The finances could easily be made to work for English clubs.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Exiledinborders on Fri 15 Sep 2017, 8:39 pm

Recwatcher16 wrote:Of course the elite players in England & France are playing too many games.  The question is whether by reducing club games that leaves the bulk of players with enough matches or reducing the numbers of Test games is the way to go.

It won't happen but believe the quality / excitement would rise if both club and Test games were reduced.

English Clubs should get rid of LV and Euro games but include a knockout FA cup comp for junior players against Championship clubs.
Tests  should be reduced to a maximum of nine per season. Six nations plus two AIs and two summer tests.
The finances could easily be made to work for English clubs.
I agree about the number of internationals. As for LV Cup surely the top players do not play in that anyway.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 12:01 pm

Joe Marler has added his voice to concerns over player welfare and a potential extension of the season, saying he would support industrial action should the domestic campaign change to an 11-month calendar.

After England teammate Billy Vunipola raised the issue in interview with The Times this week and suggested an NFL-style 'lock-out' could materialise, Marler told The Mail on Sunday that a Premiership season running from September to June would stretch players to breaking point.

"Everyone wants their piece of the pie but there's only so much pie to go around," said the Harlequins loosehead, who faces Wasps today.

"I don't want to sound like a wet flannel but I think the season is at its limit and it could do with some positive restructuring.



"If it was to extend, there has been talk between the boys about some sort of strike or other action and I would be inclined to join that."

Marler toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions this summer but will have started all three of his club's Premiership fixtures after today.

While stressing that he felt fit and firing at the moment, mainly due to his limited involvement for Warren Gatland's side, he did admit that the rigours of professional rugby are escalating.

"I only had a six-day pre-season," he said. "But I'm a bit anomaly because my Lions tour was basically a two-month stag-do!"

"Most of the boys have been managed pretty well by their clubs, but there are some guys who have gone straight back in because clubs understandably want their best players back before they go away again.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/rugby-union/2017/09/17/joe-marler-would-back-potential-players-strike-against-longer/

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by WELL-PAST-IT on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 12:28 pm

I thought the RFU and the clubs had an agreement that limited the number of games the England squad players could play in a season, this total included international games.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Rugby Fan on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 12:41 pm

WELL-PAST-IT wrote:I thought the RFU and the clubs had an agreement that limited the number of games the England squad players could play in a season, this total included international games.
There is an agreement but it doesn't solve everything. If your first game is in September, and last game in July, then you'll only have a month off, which isn't sufficient time for proper rest, and also a decent pre-season. It doesn't matter if the number of games remains the same, because you still have to maintain match fitness over a longer period. Several players have also pointed out that appearing on the bench entails the same mental and physical preparation as anyone in the starting XV, so it can still take a toll even if you don't play.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by kingelderfield on Sun 17 Sep 2017, 3:19 pm

I actually think a strike is over due as the clubs and unions obviously take the players for granted, regardless.


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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Exiledinborders on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 3:58 pm

Whilst I have some sympathy for the players it has to be said that they can't have it both ways. The same players who say they want less games employ agents who demand more money. If the clubs were making large profits at the players' expense they would have more of a case.

The root of the problem is the dysfunctional way in which rugby is organised. The unions agreed this new calendar without consulting the clubs that employ the players and seem to have made the changes entirely for the benefit of the SH to avoid a clash between Super Rugby and Internationals. Why is such a clash is any more important to avoid than the clash between the 6N and club matches?

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Rugby Fan on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 4:54 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:Whilst I have some sympathy for the players it has to be said that they can't have it both ways.
I'm not sure the players do want it both ways. No-one is offering a a trade-off, so there's no mechanism for a player to accept less money for less playing time.

Even if there were, players would still be within their rights to ask for as much as they could get. Unless teams decide to be transparent about salaries, then players have no idea where they stand with their peers, so are encouraged to shoot for the moon. Premiership teams still fight over players while knowing they'll lose them for large chunks of the season.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by beshocked on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 5:14 pm

I'd reduce games everywhere.

Turn the LV Cup into a knock out tournament like it used to be.

Too many games. If you are in the final you are potentially playing 6 games.

Currently there are 16 teams so make it -

Round 4
Quarter finals
Semi Final
Final

That would at least reduce the games by 2.

Max of 3 AIs per team.

Max of 3 summer games per team.




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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by No 7&1/2 on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 5:56 pm

Probably need to consider senior club games as well into the mix. A full view of the schedule is needed. Yup I'm aware lv has been graced by first team ers but largely not.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Pot Hale on Tue 19 Sep 2017, 8:02 pm

Exiledinborders wrote:Whilst I have some sympathy for the players it has to be said that they can't have it both ways. The same players who say they want less games employ agents who demand more money. If the clubs were making large profits at the players' expense they would have more of a case.

The root of the problem is the dysfunctional way in which rugby is organised. The unions agreed this new calendar without consulting the clubs that employ the players and seem to have made the changes entirely for the benefit of the SH to avoid a clash between Super Rugby and Internationals.  Why is such a clash is any more important to avoid than the clash between the 6N and club matches?

On the contrary, PRL inserted itself directly into the WR discussions on the new global calendar. Some of the 6N unions wanted to move the Six Nations, others wanted it moved by a week or two. The SANZAAR unions suggested it be moved to April/May. The latter proposal was not agreed to but the RFU(PRL) still hope they can persuade/cajole/leverage the other 6N members to still shift it by a week or two or ideally to condense the tournament by a week or two. The Lions and 6N unions wanted more prep time for June tests, and SANZAAR wanted an unimpeded run for SR18 (which has now reduced back to SR15 ironically), so first 3 weeks of July was agreed for tests. It was also agreed that the November test window would be 3 weeks and start in the first week of the month. And that the RWC would start a week earlier in September.

On the same day of WR announcing the changes, PRL issued a statement that they were extending their club season to the end of June and would have the same season start. A deliberate planned move with forethought to own the space between September and June with test matches confined as much as possible within that. PRL have also re-stated recently that it was agreed that the Lions tour would be shortened and a 2-week gap was now possible between the Premiership final being held and the first match of the Lions tour. The Lions dispute this 'agreement'.

There are still discussions on-going regarding the shape and timing of the club season including the European cups. There is a desire to play all the European pool games in just December and January, up to and including the quarterfinals (if the 6N moves/condenses). This would allow more time to market/sell the semis and final. (Left unsaid, is that those clubs with larger/higher quality squads would cope better with the increased number of Euro matches in the shortened time frame.)

The Anglo-Welsh Cup and the B&I Cup are being eyed up for dismantling/discarding in their current form. One train of discussion is for the Anglo-Welsh Cup to broaden and become a proper British & Irish Cup comp for developing players in particular. Games would be held in the test window time freed up. The PRO14 unions/clubs are largely in favour of this and proposed it to PRL. However, the PRO14 needs to expand by at least 2 more teams so they can reduce overall season games by start of 2020/21 season.

A separate train of discussion could see the Anglo-Welsh comp opened up to other SA teams to play in, a scenario that would likely re-ignite the Celtic war of words with Ireland and Scotland, and more recently during the whole European Heineken/Champions Cup row.

Lastly, staking a claim to the end of June leaves space for the development/creation of a money-spinning NH/SH club clash every couple of years in between RWC and Lions tours. The new global agreement says that there will only be two NH July tests in the year following a RWC.

If SR15 changes its format, and the SR season will now end in late May/early June, the SANZAAR unions have to arrange other test matches to make up lost revenue. Instead, potentially a window opens up for a short finals series between the top clubs north and south, held in a large stadium at premium ticket prices and a juicy TV deal.

Lots of ideas and rows to consider and look forward to. Smile
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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Recwatcher16 Yesterday at 9:41 pm

'the RFU(PRL) still hope they can persuade/cajole/leverage the other 6N members to still shift it by a week or two or ideally to condense the tournament by a week or two. '

The RFU and Players Association have today been reported as ruling out any change to the 6N format - so not sure they were in cahoots with the PRL.

That doesn't change the fact that last season at Bath George Ford missed five weeks in the autumn plus ten weeks - two weeks prep, seven week 6N tournament plus a week after. So basically nearly four months in an eight month season - our season ended first week in May. Rhys Priestland was injured fiur most of last season leaving young Academy player Hastings covering some key games in the depths of winter. Result we missed the league playoffs.

There are too many tests. England play SA four times in 2018 Just as they played Oz four times in 2016. Nonsense.

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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Pot Hale Today at 2:29 am

Recwatcher16 wrote:'the RFU(PRL) still hope they can persuade/cajole/leverage the other 6N members to still shift it by a week or two or ideally to condense the tournament by a week or two. '

The RFU and Players Association have today been reported as ruling out any change to the 6N format - so not sure they were in cahoots with the PRL.

That doesn't change the fact that last season at Bath George Ford missed five weeks in the autumn plus ten weeks - two weeks prep, seven week 6N tournament plus a week after. So basically nearly four months in an eight month season - our season ended first week in May. Rhys Priestland  was injured fiur most of last season leaving young Academy player  Hastings covering some key games in the depths of winter. Result we missed the league playoffs.

There are too many tests.  England play SA four times in 2018 Just as they played Oz four times in 2016. Nonsense.

Rec - the RFU lost the vote 5-1 at the Six Nations board meeting on Monday to reduce the tournament by a week. The PRL were also trying to propose another alternative whereby England and France would play each other in a rest week and not join the 6N until round 2. That idea seems to have bitten the dust as well.

On the number of tests, I agree there should be a max limit. The revised windows for 2020 allow for 5 +3 +3.  With one less test in the July folllowing a RWC. Do you think that is too many?
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Re: More Premiership players talking of strike action

Post by Recwatcher16 Today at 5:45 am

Pot, the RFU do talk to the clubs but that does not mean they agree. I believe there is some lazy journalism.

Tests in a season should be in single figures but as you well know that doesn't support financially a top down Union model that pays for professional teams.

I will keep saying it - when I can be bothered - It is not the role of a Union to dictate the club structure of OUR game. The elitist nature derived and copied from the Oz cricket model in the 90's restricts accessibility for players and fans alike to the top tier of the game. That inevitably creates conflicts but the PR from the Unions has been very effective in saying thete is no alternative and the first twenty years of the professional sport has big implications in the far longer term.

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