Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Stars OK for Club Matches; Rugby Union

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

England Stars OK for Club Matches; Rugby Union

Article excerpt

AVIVA Premiership clubs will have all their England stars available for the festive league programme after national coach Stuart Lancaster waived his right to demand they be rested.

The Rugby Football Union's deal with Premiership Rugby includes an agreement for England players to be given one weekend off in preparation for the Six Nations campaign.

The elite player squad (EPS) rest window covers last weekend's European fixtures and the next two rounds of Premiership action, around Christmas and New Year.

But Lancaster, England's interim head coach following Martin Johnson's departure in the fallout from a poor Rugby World Cup, and RFU professional rugby director Rob Andrew decided not to enforce the agreement this year.

Andrew said: "We decided that given the clubs were without their World Cup players for a substantial period up to and during the tournament it was right that the EPS period should be waived over what is a crucial European and domestic rugby period. …

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