Wales chairman calls for RFL to introduce mandatory break for those who play internationals

The chairman of Wales Rugby League believes it is time the Rugby Football League introduced a mandatory four-week break for any player who currently plays in internationals.

Chris Thair, the man at the top of WRL, told their official website in a thorough debrief of their World Cup campaign that he would like to see the northern hemisphere follow in the footsteps of the south, whereby all players who play for their country are given a prolonged period of rest.

Thair believes that, should the RFL implement that strategy, it would benefit the smaller home nations like Wales, with more players keen on call-ups given how they will have a guaranteed rest period before the new season begins.

He said: “The strength of the players’ union in Australia has ensured all players get a mandatory six-week break immediately after their last international game. The UK has no such ruling and most players in the Wales squad had only being given a two-week break by their clubs after the World Cup before having to return for pre season.

“Many players have families and young children with whom they need downtime with. Professional sport is intense and resting in the off season is important both mentally and physically. We believe that, if the RFL introduced a regulation that ensured a mandatory four-week break for players following international duty, this would ensure more players make themselves available for international duty.”

That echoes comments made by the RLI chairman, Richard Egan, who told League Express this week he feels the RFL should introduce that policy.

Thair also suggested how more money could be brought into the smaller nations, saying: “Improved player payments would help ensure more players make themselves available. However, we pay more than most other nations and, whilst players would like more, they state it is not a motivating factor. Payments and resources are derisory when compared to England and increasing commercial revenues is a constant focus.

“Wales has already recommended to the World Cup authorities that one or two sponsorship patches on the playing jerseys of all the participating nations should be centralised and a large multi million pound sponsor found with funds distributed back to the nations. We also speak to all players, including the eleven high end players that didn’t play, as to how we can improve matters.”