Former England scrum half Danny Care believes the proposed World 12s tournament could reignite rugby’s popularity after a “dull” Lions Tour
Former England international Danny Care wasn’t left too impressed by the recent Lions Tour, and believes the controversial World 12s tournament will help reinvent rugby.
The scrum half, who won the Premiership with Harlequins last season, was left uninspired by the Lions’ series defeat in South Africa despite watching club team-mate Marcus Smith get some game time.
Despite that, Care thinks the proposed bold 12-a-side tournament could kickstart the sport’s popularity.
He also believes players would be desperate to play if their clubs allowed.
“I can see issues with it, like player release, clubs and unions not wanting them to play it, but I do see the sport needing change,” the 34-year-old told the Daily Mail.
“If you watch the majority of Test matches at the moment, if New Zealand and France aren’t playing then it doesn’t really excite me, I’ll be honest with you.
“If we can bring more money into the sport and attract more who want to play it then it’s only a good thing for the game.”
While talking about rugby’s need to find that spark again, Care admitted that he thought the Lions Tour was “dull” and criticised the team’s tactics against the Springboks.
He was expecting the Lions to play a more progressive style of rugby than what was on display from Warren Gatland’s side and hopes his club plays in more inspired fashion.
“I know international rugby is very different to club rugby and they say ‘you can’t play like that in international rugby’,” Care continued.
“Why not? Why can’t you? You can if your coaches let you play like that. If there’s more coaches that want to play like that.
“Maybe the 12s idea is an opportunity for coaches to look at that, and think ‘maybe we could play more of an expansive game’.”
The World 12s tournament, believed to be rugby’s answer to cricket’s The Hundred that proved to be so successful, has come under fire due to its adapted rules and availability concerns.
Each of the eight proposed franchises will be made up of six backs and six forwards while matches will last 30 minutes – less than the regulation 40 minutes in ‘normal’ rugby matches – with the tournament spanning three consecutive weekends.
It is already unlikely that players from New Zealand, Australia or South Africa would take part as the Rugby Championship is scheduled to take place during that time.