The RFU is to introduce in-season breaks from 2019 in an attempt to protect its England stars and boost overall player welfare.
New plans have been announced whereby scheduled breaks would be brought in from next season to give players more time to rest and recover from injuries throughout the campaign.
The changes, which have been jointly announced by the RFU, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA), also include a rule which would see a maximum 35 match involvements per player in a season and then a mandatory five-week post-season rest for all players.
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The plans would mean the 2019-20 Gallagher Premiership club season would be extended by a month, runing from the third week in September to the third week in June, while international summer tours, traditionally staged in June, would be put back to July.
RPA chief executive Damian Hopley believes the changes are needed. He said: “It is fundamental that players had their say in the shaping of this new season structure.
“It gives players guaranteed in-season breaks for the first time and reduces playing thresholds.”