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Player welfare main concern on rugby resumption – WRU chairman Davies

Wales and England in action during the Six Nations match at Twickenham in March 2020
Leading players from Wales and England are due to return to domestic duties in August

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Gareth Davies says player welfare has to be the main concern when rugby resumes.

Welsh regions are due to return to action on 22 August with two rounds of local Pro14 derbies.

The delayed end of 2019-20 season is due be followed in early October by the start of the 2020-21 Pro14 campaign, which could mean almost non-stop rugby for leading players for 12 months.

“Player welfare is at the top of everybody’s concern,” said Davies.

“Players are going to want to play. This is what they do and something has been taken away from their lives.

“We have a responsibility as a union to keep these guys on a leash as well.”

The players face a busy year once rugby has resumed.

The Pro14 final is due to be held in mid September while the new league season is due to start on 3 October and run through until 19 June, 2021 while this season’s European finals are planned for mid October.

English Premiership clubs resumes on 14 August to complete the remaining nine rounds of fixtures with midweek games added to complete the schedule with their final scheduled for 24 October.

The autumn international series is due to follow in November, albeit with fixtures yet to be confirmed.

More club and regional games are due ahead of the 2021 Six Nations tournament in February and March.

The end of the 2020-21 club season is due to be followed by the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa in July and August.

“There could be five or six Tests in the autumn and the regions will then want the players back for whatever ensues and then you are into the Six Nations,” said Davies.

“From a Welsh perspective our guys have been well managed in terms of the games that they play.

“There will be a responsibility with the union working with the regions to monitor these guys so they don’t play every game.

“It could mean even in the autumn Tests the top players don’t play every Test. There is a responsibility on us that we work out a schedule for them [so] that they get through the next 12 months.”

Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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