WRU chairman Davies calls for compromise to settle rugby’s global future

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WRU chairman Gareth Davies says moving the Six Nations is not a big issue

Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) chairman Gareth Davies has described a World Rugby meeting as a once-in-a-generation chance to sort a new global calendar.

The game’s leading international and club bosses meet on Monday to try to create a new system that will align the northern and southern hemispheres.

Davies has outlined its importance.

“Everybody will have to compromise so it’s probably a once-in-a-generation opportunity to try and solve this,” he said.

There are a few different scenarios on the table, but the main objective would be to run the domestic seasons of the north and southern hemispheres concurrently in one calendar year.

The international windows would also be moved, for example the July window would shift to October to allow a longer block of international fixtures in the autumn, meaning the three “windows” would become two.

Games from the Six Nations and the Rugby Championship, along with the October/November block, would then fit into a ‘Nations Championship’, with boosting the commercial potential of the international game among the hopes.

“There are various scenarios the Six Nations and Sanzaar [South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina] have thrashed around over the last few weeks,” said Davies.

“Everybody’s on the same page wanting to see this crisis lead to an opportunity to try to solve some of the conundrums that have been around for the past 25 years.

“The three major issues in the game are the north-south divide, the club v country divide and dealing with developing the whole game.

“It’s about solving a worldwide solution. We need to develop the world game.

“And I think it’s within our grasp at the moment, but there has to be compromise all round.”

South Africa’s 2019 World Cup triumph added to their global wins in 1995 and 2007

While Davies has called for collaboration to end decades of division, there have been reports leading French and English clubs aim to resist a move that would see their domestic competitions played during summer months.

“I know the headlines are summer rugby, but it’s not all about that,” said Davies.

“The challenges are tradition and custom. Rugby league went through it years ago, probably out of necessity.

“Well maybe with us it’s not out of necessity, but it’s as a by-product of trying to solve these issues that we have.

“If we revert to what we’ve always had, we’re going to have the same old problems going on.

“So there are challenges. We are up against cricket, up against golf, tennis etc.

“I don’t think it’s beyond the wit of man to work with those sports as well and work with broadcasters to have something compatible, if that is one of the solutions.”

Former Wales and British and Irish Lions fly-half Davies added: “It would be far more positive if people concentrated on what we’re trying to solve here, not maybe one of the outcomes.”

Davies is also open to the Lions 2021 tour of South Africa switching from July and August to the autumn.

“It’s an interesting one. For a fan it’s probably a better solution. I think I’d rather be in South Africa in October than perhaps in July in terms of weather etc.” said Davies.

“That will be one of the things that will come out of it. The good thing is all the interested parties are afforded the opportunity of contributing to the debate.”