Ruby Union: Sunday fare for de Glanville

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The Independent Online
The England captain Phil de Glanville says he has no problem playing Five Nations matches on a Sunday. The 1998 Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England at Murrayfield on 22 March will be the first Five Nations match to be played on a Sunday, with Wales versus France at Wembley on 5 April the other departure from the traditional Saturday afternoon timing.

But de Glanville, on tour with the England side, said from Buenos Aires: "The day we play is irrelevant. The fans will still make a good weekend of it in Edinburgh, although switching to a Sunday probably has more impact on the fans than on the players. I have played a number of Sunday games for Bath and it is something we are getting used to doing. They are going to become more common.

"It doesn't make sense, from either a financial or spectating point of view, to play two Five Nations games at the same time. Changes in kick- off times will be of more relevance to the players than the day of the week."

The Five Nations chief executive Roger Pickering said staging matches on Sundays would enhance the tournament. "We feel the time is now right to change the format of the championship that has been in place since 1974.

"It is the express wish of the Five Nations committee to enable as big an audience as possible to witness the oldest and most respected rugby tournament in the world.

"By staggering the kick-off times on a Saturday and spreading some rounds of the championship over two days, the game will be able to massively broaden its appeal."

The revised championship fixture schedule for 1998 is:

7 Feb: France v England (time to be announced); Ireland v Scotland (3pm).

21 Feb: Scotland v France (3pm); England v Wales (TBA).

7 Mar: Wales v Scotland (3.45pm); France v Ireland (TBA).

21 Mar: Ireland v Wales (3pm).

22 Mar: Scotland v England (3pm).

4 Apr: England v Ireland (TBA).

5 Apr: Wales v France (3pm).

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