Will star names be rested in the three November Tests?

10/20/2017 John Evans 0 Comments

Ahead of the autumn Test series that will see England up against Argentina, Australia and Samoa, there is increasing talk that star players will be rested in a campaign to preserve them from burnout.

Possible player strike

The much-needed hiatus in game time for the British and Irish Lions' most seasoned players follows speculation that strikes by players are imminent due to changes that some players have described as compromising their emotional and physical welfare. A recent announcement by Premiership Rugby Limited came as an unwelcome surprise to the top players, some of whom complained that they were not consulted when the seasons were extended.

It is recognised that players who are over-utilised and given a heavy load of games to play over a protracted time are more at risk of injury. Sudden injury can have a profound effect on the longevity of players’ careers, which can be severely and often abruptly curtailed. It is not surprising that player welfare has fast become a top priority for head England coach Eddie Jones, who is expected to bench seasoned players such as Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs, Joe Marler, Manu Tuilagi and Jack Clifford during the internationals and instruct them to use the time to recharge their batteries and recuperate.

It has been a gruelling 18 months of games and rigorous training for the Lions squad, whose past strong performances have earned the highly coveted position of second place in the world rugby rankings behind New Zealand's amazing All Blacks.

Young talent welcomed

To achieve the balance of excellence and good player morale and welfare for the November autumn Tests, Jones may rotate some of the older players with a team of young, fresh talent looking to gain
experience and confidence playing as part of a winning squad.

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There is strong expectation that the Lions will take the cup home following the November Tests; however, this has not compromised the head coach's bigger vision. He is focussed on a winning squad in anticipation of the World Cup in 2019 in Kyoto, Japan, during which he is expected to oversee a star-studded performance.