(Reuters) - Curtailing English top-flight rugby’s season to give the British and Irish Lions more time to prepare for their tour of South Africa in 2021 would be “suicide” for the domestic competition, Premiership Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty has said.
The Lions played 10 games in six weeks in New Zealand last year, including one match just days after arriving, and there have been calls to give them more time to prepare when they travel to South Africa.
However, McCafferty told British media that the Lions had not even broached the subject with club rugby and that paring back the season would hurt the Premiership.
“To go in and out of different formats is suicide,” McCafferty said. “For a product as strong as the Premiership to mess around, it would massively damage the brand.
“A bit like World Rugby sometimes, the Lions seem to have a disdain about talking to the club organisations,” he added.
“I think a lot could be improved if people actually sat down, demonstrated a basic respect for the club game and said: ‘How can we work together on this?’”
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford