Saracens pick Mako Vunipola despite mandatory rest period agreement

first_imgShare on Pinterest Share on Facebook The Guardian has been told by the RFU that in order to get the mandatory rest period, a player will have had to play in all five Six Nations matches and for at least 80% of the total aggregated minutes. That applies to the loosehead Vunipola on both counts.He went on holiday to Tenerife after the Six Nations but was a used replacement in Saracens’ win over Harlequins a week after England’s tournament finale against Ireland. He started the Champions Cup quarter-final defeat by Leinster eight days later, and the victory over Northampton last weekend. Yet he has been chosen against Bath, even though Saracens have rested Maro Itoje, another player who met the requirements for a rest. Rugby union Read more news England rugby union team It is understood the RFU does not have an issue with Vunipola playing against Bath as he was allowed his holiday and because Saracens do not have a game next week, having lost in the Champions Cup. It is also understood Saracens are aware Vunipola meets the requirements for a mandatory rest and have been contacted for a comment.It is particularly concerning, however, at a time when there is concern over player welfare and when discussions over restructuring of the domestic season are at such a crucial juncture before next week’s Professional Game Board meeting looming.In addition, it raises questions over the workload England players are subjected to after their worst ever Six Nations finish. Fatigue has been raised as a key factor behind England’s recent failures with players from Ireland, in particular, as well as Wales and Scotland afforded far more rest during the season.Meanwhile, Newcastle kept their Premiership play-off dreams alive on Friday with a dramatic 35-30 victory over Sale, whose own hopes of a top-four finish took a hit.Newcastle had looked to be cruising to victory after building a 25-0 lead and securing a try bonus point inside the first half hour. But Sale roared back in style with 27 unanswered points and it needed a Rob Vickers try in the dying minutes to earn Newcastle victory at Kingston Park.The win moves Newcastle up to third ahead of the weekend’s fixtures. Sale remain sixth. Sign up for The Breakdown, our weekly rugby union email. Share on Messenger Share on LinkedIn Saracens’ South African co-owners sell 50% stake to chairman Nigel Wray Rugby Football Unioncenter_img Since you’re here… Saracens Share via Email Share on WhatsApp Support The Guardian Premiership Topics … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on Twitter Saracens have named Mako Vunipola in their team to face Bath on Sunday despite being obliged to rest him according to an agreement between the Rugby Football Union and the Premiership.In a move that raises serious concerns over player welfare, Vunipola has been picked for the fourth week in a row following the Six Nations, even though the terms of the Professional Game Agreement (PGA), signed in 2016 between the RFU and the Premiership, suggest he must be given a break. According to the Premiership Rugby website, the PGA states that: “Those [players] who play throughout the Six Nations, and pass a threshold of minutes played, will have one weekend off in the four weeks following the competition.” Reuse this contentlast_img

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