All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes that the Six Nations is holding back the global development of the game in their refusal to accept proposals of a global season.
New Zealand faced Tonga in their final World Cup warmup game yesterday, with the Kiwis hammering the Pacific Islanders 92-7 in Hamilton. The nations of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji have long been considered to have the potential to compete on the global stage, but have yet to put the structures in place to do so.
Speaking after the game, Hansen said that a global calendar to benefit developing nations is needed, but it won't happen as long as the Six Nations continues to have most of the say on the global game (h/t Rugby Pass):
The problem that we’ve got is a calendar that doesn’t allow you to do that.
We have these wonderful ideas about growing the game but we don’t have an organisation at the top that wants to be strong enough to say ‘righto, this is what we’re doing, we’re going to have a global season'.
The Six Nations rule world Test rugby programs. They don’t want to give that up and until they’re prepared to give that up, we’re not going to see any progress in that area.
Earlier this year plans were revealed to introduce a global rugby league, which would feature promotion and relegation between various tiers. In theory, this would allow the developing rugby countries such as Pacific Island nations or Georgia to play against the top teams on a consistent basis.
However, the plans were shelved after sever opposition from a number of different parties. The Six Nations were one of the most vocal critics and were hesitant to introduce any from of promotion or relegation.
Hansen believes that those concerns should be shelved in order to advance the game in less traditional rugby nations. The World Cup winner thinks there are already enough obstacles in the way of countries such as Tonga without making things even more difficult on them.
It’s really difficult [for me] when your players play for five different franchises in New Zealand.
So I can only imagine how difficult it would be when your players are playing all over the world and you’re bringing them back and you don’t have much time to prepare them.
Whatever happened yesterday, [Tonga] will get way better by the time they get to the tournament.