World player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit has given his support to a list of players’ principles that the International Rugby Players insist must form the basis of any future tournaments.

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The players’ organisation formulated its principles last year after plans for World Rugby’s proposed Nations Championship were scrapped.

With the issue of a global season still firmly on the agenda, they were again discussed when the organisation’s general executive and players’ council met last month.

The players’ principles seek to ensure that all tournaments include:

  • An equal playing field with more meaningful matches for emerging nations with a view to removing the current tier system and allowing the game to grow;
  • An optimal match, training and travel load which protects the physical and mental well-being of players, allowing them to consistently perform at their best;
  • A balance between club and country, ensuring that clubs adhere to regulation nine and that players don’t feel compromised when leaving their clubs for international duty;
  • A commercially viable model that allows players to be paid a fair revenue share;
  • A competition that works for the fans.
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    A recent World Cup winner with South Africa, du Toit said: “One of the things that was lost in the mix last year during the Nations Championship debate was that players are actually in favour of a proper global season that works for everyone.

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    “But we’re against anything that burns players out, excludes emerging nations and doesn’t grow the game. These principles are a sound basis from which to start the discussion and of course we expect the players’ view to be properly considered from the outset of any talks.”

    The players’ principles were presented to World Rugby and unions at the Rugby Athletes Commission in December and again at a forum in London last month.

    Dr Sharron Flahive, an International Rugby Players board member, added: “We are consistently reviewing statistics around training load, optimal match load and long-haul travel.

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    “It’s important that any future tournament focuses on getting this right in order to have better-performing players and, as a result, a better product for fans to enjoy.”

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