Club rugby without international players ‘not an attractive product’ says Scarlets’ Fitzpatrick
Scarlets board member Sean Fitzpatrick has called for fewer rugby internationals, saying that the club game without the top players on the pitch is “not an attractive product”.
The former New Zealand captain who was part of the team that won the inaugural 1987 World Cup said that club rugby wasn’t sustainable as long as international teams were playing so many tests (12 on average) every year.
The Scarlets and other Welsh clubs will once again be without many of their top stars for four or five rounds of the new United Rugby Championship as they travel to Wales training camps.
“One thing we’ve learnt through Covid is rugby in this part of the world isn’t sustainable,” Sean Fitzpatrick told the Times newspaper.
“It has to change. This is not just from a Welsh perspective, it’s from a global perspective. If you have the right partners and a long-term goal then private equity is a good thing.
“Covid has forced our hand to look at other options. They are good options. What we are seeing globally is that the international game is OK, but we need competitions other than international rugby that generate income.
“This is why the club window is so important. We just can’t continue the way we are with our best players being unavailable for a lot of games. We need the best players playing.
“We need to make sure we have a club window with no international games at all, which is going to involve playing fewer internationals. Until we get a club window where we can get all our internationals on the field it’s not an attractive product.”