Wales coach Pivac wants a 'level playing field' for teams

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac believes it's time for the northern and southern hemispheres to look at synching their rugby calendars. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Wales coach Wayne Pivac has said the time is right for the northern and southern hemispheres to look at synching their rugby calendars and to create a "level playing field" for teams.

The European calendar runs from September to June while teams in the southern hemisphere start their season in January and end in November. Test matches are played in the summer and autumn with teams at different stages of their season and preparation.

"I think what everyone would like to see is a level playing field," Pivac said. "By that I mean when two teams come together they've had similar preparation.

"I know New Zealand would say often when they had four test matches in the Autumn, that last test match was hard work. It was a long, long season. It was a bridge too far."

"The autumn is probably a good time for us to be playing southern hemisphere teams but not the other way around.

"If someway we could get it so it's a level playing field so that the season starts and finishes at the same time, that to me would be a very fair way of looking at it."

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, who was re-elected for another four years on Saturday, has also said that a more unified calendar might help tackle the financial strain unions are under due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 68-year-old promised a review into the structure of the global season in his campaign to be re-elected as head of the global organisation.

"I think now we do have that opportunity, I think the game might look a little bit different, certainly in the short term post the coronavirus." Pivac added.

"I think it's a great opportunity and I think the global season is probably one we'd all like to see put under some scrutiny and see if we can up with something that is suitable for both northern and southern hemisphere rugby."

Wales were due to travel to Japan to play the Brave Blossoms on June 27 before heading to New Zealand for Test matches on July 4 and 11. However, Pivac is doubtful that the games will go ahead.

"It does seem unlikely and, as each day and each week goes by, that seems more and more the case," he said.

"But until it is called off, or postponed, we have to prepare as if it's going ahead and that's certainly what we are doing."

To help ease the financial strain on the union, Pivac and his players took a 25% pay cut alongside members of the Wales Rugby Union's board.

Despite the uncertainty around the rugby calendar -- Wales still have a Six Nations game against Scotland to play -- Pivac said his players are making the most of the break away from sport.

"The feedback from a lot of them is that they are feeling great from having had a break, because they had pre-World Cup camps, a World Cup, back into club rugby and back in international rugby again, so their bodies were pretty beaten up.

"A lot of them are feeling really good, both mentally and physically from having had time off.

With a possible build-up of fixtures and rankings for the 2023 Rugby World Cup looming, however, coaches still have the challenge of keeping players fit.

Pivac conceded that the team would need five to six weeks of training together before they would be ready for a Test game but said he does not foresee playing several games close together as being an issue for his players.

He added: "If you asked the players now if they'd be happy to play a pile of games on top of each other they'd jump at the chance."