Could the Six Nations be moved in the rugby calendar?

The tournament has been historically played in February and March each year

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

February and March have become synonymous with the Six Nations.

Each year, the tournament takes place over the two months, and has earned its place in a sporting calendar that is rarely crowded at that time of the year.

With the advent of a 12-month global calendar, it looks like the tournament may be moved to later in the year, with the idea of trying to lessen player burnout.

Speaking to the BBC, Welsh Rugby Union chairman Gareth Davies said a revamp of the tournament is "up for grabs". He confirmed that he spoke with members of the New Zealand Rugby Union last month when the two teams were playing over the potential of a global season.

"The main reason for the global season is player welfare, to try to cut down the numbers of games players are playing... Our guys were in New Zealand in June, July. They started training the first week of June the previous year."

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Davies added, that moving the Six Nations is only part of a potential solution to what is becoming an ever-increasing problem. Retirement ages of elite players is beginning to lower as player's bodies struggle to cope with the rigours of the game.

"I think we see it, just moving three or four weeks is not going to help the northern hemisphere with player welfare, for example... So it is a bigger question than just the Six Nations. That is being looked at at the moment."

Since the addition of Italy to the tournament in 2000, no other outisde teams have been allowed to compete despite the continuing impressive performances of some Eastern European teams. Davies feels a promotion-relegation system could be introduced.

"Do we look at 'is it a closed shop for Six Nations?' Do we open the gates to Georgia, Romania or anybody else who is deemed worthy and is capable of being in there?"

Whatever happens, next year's tournament will remain in its traditional date, but changes may be coming in the years after that.