READ: 12 major changes made in an attempt to improve player welfare

Starting in 2019-20, the improved season structures will see a number of extra player welfare driven initiatives and a reduced number of international/club overlaps for the top-level professional game in England.

The key announcements include:

  • Guaranteed in-season breaks for players in each of the three seasons.
  • Mandatory five-week post-season rest for all players which includes two weeks’ absolute rest and three weeks’ active rest
  • Minimum 10 weeks off/pre-season for England Senior Elite Player Squad (EPS) players (five weeks rest and five weeks preparation)
  • Minimum 12 weeks between Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final and Round 1 of the following Gallagher Premiership Rugby season
  • Maximum 35 match involvements (>20 minutes) in any one season for all players
  • Maximum 30 full game equivalents (reduced from 32) in any one season for all players
  • Premiership Rugby Cup structure to provide rest weeks for players with the most match time
  • England Senior EPS players to have a mandatory rest week if playing all international matches and more than 65% of total minutes (reduced from 80%) in the Quilter Internationals or Six Nations

In addition:

  • England Rugby World Cup squad rested for the summer Tests in July 2020 unless they have had 20 or fewer match involvements in the 2019-20 season
  • England players on the 2021 British and Irish Lions tour to have a rest week during the 2021 Autumn internationals
  • English Lions’ players to have 10 weeks break
  • Tri-partite panel with an independent chairman to monitor and ensure compliance with the principles and to decide on any individual exceptions

Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive, Premiership Rugby said: “The professional game continues to develop quickly and we’ve worked extremely hard with the RPA and RFU over the last 18 months since San Francisco to achieve a number of progressive goals for the English structure over the next three seasons, building in new player management approaches, reducing overlaps and scheduling more of Gallagher Rugby for the better weather conditions of spring and early summer.”

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