International calendar needs to change: Jones

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

England coach Eddie Jones has called for a restructure of the international calendar, after his side’s 3-0 whitewash of the Wallabies.

The series finished a near full 12-month calendar of rugby for much of England’s squad, going back to their 2015-16 preseason in June.

Since then, many have played in the World Cup and Premiership seasons, with that finishing in May, before going straight into this June series

Jones said the four-year international cycle should be revisited, with the potential for a “fallow” or lower impact year following a World Cup.

Maro Itoje has won 26 from 26 games this season. Photo: Getty ImagesThe England mentor said he had spoken to RFU chief ian Ritchie about the possibility of a shift to the international calendar.

“I don’t think it’s right,” he said.

“I've spoken to Ian Ritchie about that and I think we're in agreements. Ian's going to try and push that forward to World Rugby,” he said.

“Ideally I think it should go fallow (after a World Cup), Lions where you take a development tour away, then the third year you have a major tour - three Tests, maybe some midweek games, and you take an extended squad the year before the world Cup.

“They should be sitting on a beach in Barbados now.”.

Jones isn’t the first figure to question World Rugby schedules in recent months, with New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew calling for a shift in the mid-year Test window to July, to avoid a Super Rugby clash.

The lengthening of the French Top 14 competition has complicated things, eating into the international Test window, making the chances for conflict between club and country much higher.

England’s players will have roughly a month off following the June series, before going into training with their Premiership sides ahead of an August season start.