Tom Youngs: Leicester Tigers captain says extended season 'fills players with dread'

By Chris JonesBBC Radio 5 live rugby reporter
Tom Youngs
Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs toured Australia with the British and Irish Lions in 2013

The proposed 10-month Premiership rugby season "fills players with dread", says Leicester Tigers captain Tom Youngs.

Following the announcement of the new global calendar in March, Premiership Rugby confirmed the 2019-20 domestic season will start in early September and finish at the end of June.external-link

However, players have voiced their concerns about the schedule.

"I think it fills us all with a bit with dread," Tigers hooker Youngs, 30, told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I know they are trying to look after us a little bit, but that's a long time. It's long enough now."

Premiership Rugby say the 10-month campaign will allow clubs to become "more sophisticated" in their management of players, with chief executive Mark McCafferty insisting player welfare remains the priority.

But Youngs, who has 28 England caps and three for the British and Irish Lions - is among those to stress the need for a long summer break and pre-season, rather than shorter rest periods during the campaign.

"It would shorten pre-seasons, and pre-season is so vital to get us ready to go through the season," he added.

"I know in June, if I don't go on any tours or anything, I have five weeks off and that is nice to know. Even when pre-season games come round, it feels a little bit like you have only played last week.

"I don't know the ins and outs, but I wouldn't be too keen about it to be honest. I do feel the players are going to be the ones to drag it through. To just extend the season, I don't think that will really work."

Senior figures in the club game, such as Northampton forward Christian Day, have not ruled out the option of players going on strike and Youngs says the next few months could be critical.

"It will be interesting to see what happens over the next year or so, and how the players try to get this resolved to where we would like it to be," he said.

"It's probably going to clash at some point and we will have to see how it all unfolds."

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