Premiership will not move play-off final to accommodate Lions’ training

• Chief executive denies trying to ‘squeeze’ tourists
• ‘The Lions will always be part of the rugby schedule’

Premiership Rugby will not bring its play-off final in 2021 forward to allow the British & Irish Lions to train for a week before flying out to South Africa, but its chief executive, Mark McCafferty, says English clubs were not trying to squeeze the tourists out of the fixture schedule.

Future Lions tours will be cut from 10 to eight matches and without a training week for the entire squad, they will have little time to blend players from four countries. John Spencer, the manager to New Zealand last year, has said he is concerned about the future of European rugby’s leading brand because the tight schedule would turn a tour into a mission impossible.

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