Alun Wyn Jones, Michael Hooper demand place on World Rugby committee
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/03/19 8:12am
The world's leading players have called for a seat on World Rugby's executive committee, hitting out at the sport's governing body for ignoring their views.
Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and Australia skipper Michael Hooper have demanded World Rugby appoints an independent players' representative on their decision-making executive committee.
World Rugby will hold summit meetings in Dublin on Thursday, where its Nations Championship plans are expected to be thwarted by Six Nations bosses.
In addition to that anticipated hammer blow for the Nations Championship, however, International Rugby Players has now voiced further concerns ahead of the key meetings.
"We want to ensure that there will be no repeat of the current situation and that the frustrations over the lack of player consultation are addressed," said Wales captain and British and Irish Lions star Jones.
"It's in the interest of our game that World Rugby and the unions convene with the playing population so that proper solutions can be agreed.
"Players having a genuine, and greater say, can't be undervalued."
Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton and Kieran Read voiced serious concerns over World Rugby's Nations Championship plans just two weeks ago, in IRP's first concerted mobilisation against the proposed radical Test arena shake-up.
World Rugby wants to launch its Nations Championship contest by 2022, with the top performers from the Six Nations and an expanded six-team Rugby Championship facing off to determine an annual cross-hemisphere winner.
England captain Farrell, Ireland talisman Sexton and New Zealand stalwart Read all insisted the players' views had not been fully accounted in terms of grave reservations that top stars would be subjected to too much Test rugby.
Now Wales second row Jones and Australia back-rower Hooper have added further clout to those frustrations, and called on World Rugby to formalise interaction with the game's leading players.
The players' council of IRP held a conference call on Tuesday night to thrash out their way forward, and the result has been these new demands of the game's power brokers.
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"We want to be part of key decisions in the game, however at the moment we don't have a proper seat at the table to exert any influence," said Wallabies skipper Hooper.
"Players understand, better than anyone, what happens at the coal face and how certain decisions impact both the players and the broader game, so it would be counterproductive to cast the player view aside.
"Moving forward we want to ensure that the players have independently appointed representation on the World Rugby Executive Committee and other key World Rugby decision-making bodies."