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'You'd like to think guys running your pension fund are not daft!'

By Chris Jones

Trending on RugbyPass

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Former England and Newcastle out-half Toby Flood believes the proposed new twelve-a-side international competition could help align the northern and southern hemisphere seasons and finally create an integrated global calendar to help the sport generate more money.


Flood, who has retired after 18 seasons of professional rugby to join the Falcons coaching set-up, accepts the rugby calendar is already packed but is confident the sport has room for development thanks to the millions being pumped into the game by major equity companies like CVC who have shares in the Six Nations and some of the major leagues. 

He said: “You would like to think that the guys running your pension fund are not daft! The market in rugby has a tremendous amount of growth in it and the more exposure you have in the Olympics and now a twelves competition can add value.

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Matt Dawson and Mike Brown on their favourite rugby memories
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Matt Dawson and Mike Brown on their favourite rugby memories

“At the moment we cannot align the northern and southern hemisphere and we have now thrown another curveball into it. One reason for doing it may be to show that you can align the north and south calendars and it is going to be very interesting to see where they fit twelves into the international and domestic game schedule.

“I do believe there is still a thirst and desire in the market for rugby to be turned into something that is profitable and you could sell out Twickenham and the Principality Stadium out twice and there is value at the top end of the game. It feels like it is almost a sevens filler because the funding level of sevens seems to be very complicated However, sevens has been such an important vehicle and has helped player development.”

Having played in the English second tier in 2019/20 with Newcastle, Flood added that the recent downgrading of the Championship – as well as the Premiership A-team league – was sad and he also voiced concern about the impact of concussion on the sport. “The A league was fantastic for my development and we played in front of 8,000 fans at Welford Road,” he added.


“The Championship is in a tough time and that pathway for players is massively important and I do worry about the future. What stifles that value (of rugby) is the concussion protocols and there has been the study that has just come out on the impact of playing one season of rugby and do parents want to expose their children to that stuff?”

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