Sydney - Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says
Australia needs a five-week mid-season break in next year's Super 15
schedule to prepare players for the test series against the British and
Irish Lions, warning that anything shorter will be "a recipe for
Australia Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said
his organisation had already begun negotiations with its New Zealand
and South African counterparts in the hope of expanding the mid-season
break from three weeks to five to accommodate the Lions series.
Deans said "anything short of that is negligence."
Super 15 was halted for three weeks this season, for the first time in
its history, to allow Australia, New Zealand and South Africa to play
June Test matches.
Australia was forced to cram in a Test against
Scotland on a Tuesday so as to fit a three-test series against Wales
into the three available weekends.
Scotland beat Australia 9-6 - its first win in Australia in 30 years - and Deans said the Wallabies
could not afford to reproduce such a packed program against the Lions.
"That would obviously be a recipe for disater," Deans said.
Lions series "is an important moment in every rugby player's life, once
in every 12 years they get this opportunity. We need to do the right
thing by the playing group and ensure that they get the preparation
that's required to win.
"Anything short of that is negligence."
Lions will play nine matches in Australia in June and July next year,
including matches against all five Australian Super 15 teams.
said he expects the southern hemisphere rugby group SANZAR to decide
within two weeks how long next season's test break will be. He said it
was possible Australian teams might return to the Super 15 tournament
later than their New Zealand and South African rivals.
here in Australia needs to be wider that it necessarily will be for
South Africa and New Zealand because we have the Lions arriving early
June and they are here till early July," O'Neill said.
"We need not a three-week window, we need a five-week window."