It’s now a week since the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship issued a joint statement regarding the global calendar and the view from Wales has now endorsed the feeling that change is on the cards. It was always felt the Six Nations’ traditional February/March date in the calendar would be the stumbling block scuppering plans to align the Test rugby seasons either side of the equator.
Even Bill Beaumont, the World Rugby chairman, said after his recent re-election victory that a shift wasn’t necessary. “Nobody has ever mentioned to me that the Six Nations would move timescale but in my opinion, what would move are July and November,” he said.
“Why would you move the Six Nations? It’s not affecting anyone else’s window on the global calendar. It’s a six-week tournament that has been played in February/March time since I was a lad.”
However, the mood for change now suggests Beaumont didn’t quite have his finger on the pulse earlier this month. Just last weekend, seven key principles were listed in the joint Six Nations/SANZAAR statement that outlined the progress made in their talks.
“Even though there may be different preferences, from the outset the nations have adopted a mindset that has sought to eliminate self-interest and recognise that the international and club game have shared mutual benefits that if approached and managed correctly can enable both to flourish,” read the statement.
Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies has now told the BBC: “If moving the Six Nations helps to bring the jigsaw together and everyone would have to make compromises, I don’t think that’s a big issue at all. March-April wouldn’t be that much of an issue really if it enables harmony in moving forward.”
Earlier in his weekly Covid-19 update on the WRU website, Davies stated: “I’ve been involved in various Six Nations operations meetings over the past week, where we talk to representatives from each of the unions to evaluate last season and look into what we may review for the year ahead.
“These meetings occur each year, with team managers – like our own Martyn Williams – and coaches reporting in with their thoughts and findings with the operational teams at each venue driving the discussions.
“We discuss travel arrangements, the operational requirements of host broadcasters in each nation, captain’s runs, training programmes and host venues in both the men’s and the women’s game. Commercial requirements and demands are always high on the agenda.
“Obviously, in the current climate, these meetings have an extra dimension as we are all still unsure about how the season ahead will pan out, but I mention them here because they have given me the feeling that, when the time comes, rugby will be ready, willing and able to return as quickly as safety precautions dictate.
“A lot of hard work is taking place behind the scenes, as it always does each year at this time, to bring a Six Nations competition that is the envy of the sporting world and, once health and government advice allows, I know it will be a case of now ‘the show must go on’.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now