Ben Youngs: Premiership season turnaround must consider player welfare

Ben Youngs in action for Leicester Tigers
Leicester scrum-half Ben Youngs has won 99 England caps

England scrum-half Ben Youngs says players would "adapt" to a much shorter break between Premiership seasons, but player welfare must be considered in any structuring decisions.

The Premiership season has been suspended because of coronavirus and the final, originally scheduled for 20 June, may be moved back to late summer.

Leicester's Youngs said players need to "be ready" for a quick turnaround.

"If that's what needs to happen, players have to adapt," he added.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the 30-year-old said he, like all players, is using the time in lockdown to "freshen up physical and mentally".

He continued: "The way they are trying to set it up is to finish the season, and rightfully so. As players we need to be patient and just see when that is.

"There is a good possibility that we will finish the season, then two weeks later be potentially starting the new season.

"It could run into next season, which will make it a long old one, but if that's what the powers that be decide is best for the game then as players we will have to adapt to that."

While in football there has been talk about completing the season in 56 days once play is again deemed safe and appropriate, Youngs believes the demands of rugby union make condensing their campaign impossible.

"This is where it will be a challenge because obviously the concussion rate in rugby has been a hot topic for a while now," he said. "There's no way we could play two games a week.

"It couldn't work, we don't have the squad size to do that, you would be putting the players at risk."

Already there are talks about moving England's summer tour of Japan to October, while the idea of an extra Six Nations tournament being played if England cannot fulfil their autumn internationals has also been put forward by Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney.

Youngs, who has 99 England caps, said: "It's for other people to work exactly how they will structure it.

"Whether things have to be shifted about, whether potentially Europe is not played and the Premiership Cup is not played, I'm not sure, but yes - there has to be an element of getting the season finished and the next season started early.

"But there has to be change within the schedule to allow people to physically and mentally freshen up, otherwise if you go week in and week out you are going to end up with very depleted squads at the end of it.

"It is an opportunity to potentially change the structure of the season from how the format is currently, and trying to make it suit everyone more - opening the game more worldwide."

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