Rob Baxter: Rugby union return must be taken one step at a time
Premiership Rugby has set a target of August 15 for resuming the 2019/20 campaign with players taking part in phase-one training
By Liam Grace
Last Updated: 26/06/20 5:02pm
Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter has called for patience over the return of the sport following the coronavirus pandemic.
Premiership Rugby has set a target of August 15 for resuming the 2019/20 campaign and last week players began group sessions under strict guidelines as part of phase one of a return to training.
However, on a day in which Super League outlined its plans for a return to action, Baxter feels the return of rugby union in England must be taken one step of a time, saying that things could change quickly at any moment.
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Baxter's team currently sit top of the Premiership and the 49-year-old is against the idea of the season being curtailed.
"They are decisions that will be made based around when the season starts, if we will be involved in mid-week games or not, when they want the end of the season to be, the proposals around any shift in season structure - there are so many things up in the air," he told a Zoom press conference on Friday.
"Would we be happy with the season being curtailed? No. That would not be my preferred option. But would we deal with it? Yes.
"At the end of the day, the only thing that I can prepare for is getting us ready for stage-two training when it starts, and getting us ready for a mid-August first game, if that's the way the season goes.
"Trying to look beyond that, you are going to create problems. You are going to create confusion in the squad.
"For me, it's what the next training day looks like and focusing on the aims and goals we have in place, and be ready to change if we need to."
Baxter was also quizzed on if he felt inspiration by Liverpool winning the Premier League title, after the top-flight football season in England resumed on June 17.
"They had a bigger lead than we have, and they don't have to play a semi-final and final - so it's slightly different," he added.
"We have a relatively slender lead. We like to think we start seasons well, so hopefully we can restart well. All we can do is get excited for what will effectively be an 11-game blast."
Youngs: Changes to Prem Rugby can be positive
Leicester captain Tom Youngs is feeling optimistic about the future of rugby union as he and his team-mates step up preparations for a resumption of the Premiership season.
Asked about things that are being discussed away from the field, such as wage cuts and the game's future, Youngs said: "We want to help the club, Premiership Rugby are trying to do their bits and bobs.
"We're trying to fall in line with that and understand what is going forward from what it is.
"I think rugby is going to change a bit, and I think they will look at season structure, they will look at all sorts, that is what they are doing, and I can only imagine it being positive things coming out of it.
"It might take a knock for a little bit but I can see it kicking on from whenever we get back going again."
Regarding talks about wage cuts, Youngs added: "It is a very difficult one because it comes down to individuals and everyone is in different circumstances.
"I think the majority of it is all going in the right direction. I think some guys have still got some questions and as I said, it comes back to individual things.
"But we're back training and enjoying that and trying to work hard as a group and get back to playing rugby again."