International players could strike
New Zealand's Rugby Players Association head Rob Nichol says players may strike over discontent with the scheduling of international matches.
Nichol's comments come after New Zealand coach Steve Hansen said on Sunday that players may have to exercise their power by refusing to play unless the International Rugby Board lessens the demands on internationals.
"At the moment when it comes to the global season too many decisions are made around tradition rather than what is right for the athletes," commented Hansen.
The players' grievances are based on the fact that their is no set window for international matches which leads to an elongated season, with a break period that is deemed insufficient.
It is believed that players want an international window that is coordinated between the northern and southern hemisphere, something that is currently not possible due to the Six Nations taking place in March and April, which is too early in the southern hemisphere season.
Players are also keen to see the break in the Super Rugby tournament done away with in favour of 16 weeks of downtime at the end of the season.
"We won't allow the game's administrators to follow amateur traditions that are no longer applicable," Nichol told AP. "That's not only competition structure but also commercial. We have to address it."
The International Rugby Players Association will meet on the Gold Coast next month to discuss this among other issues and Nichol remains optimistic that a resolution will be found before strike action becomes necessary.