Haskell Slams Loss of Rugby’s Iconic Three-Test Series: A Blow to Competitive Spirit

In a blow to rugby union fans, former England flanker James Haskell has expressed his displeasure at the decision to remove three-Test series from the international calendar. Haskell believes the absence of these highly anticipated clashes will diminish the sense of drama and rivalry that makes top-level rugby so compelling.

BBC Rugby Union: Haskell Slams Removal of Three-Test Series

Former England flanker James Haskell has expressed his displeasure at the decision to remove three-Test series from the rugby union calendar. Between 2004 and 2010, teams typically played two matches on a tour, but the International Rugby Board (now World Rugby) added an extra window to the schedule from 2012, allowing for a three-match series to determine a clear winner, despite the occasional draw.

However, with the creation of the Nations Championship set to launch in 2026, including the possibility of Qatar hosting the play-offs in a ‘Super Bowl of rugby’, the rugby union calendar has once again undergone significant changes. This year, there will be no full tours, disappointing Haskell, who believes a three-Test series against the mighty All Blacks would make for a more compelling contest.

“It’s a shame it’s not a three-Test series isn’t it? That would add a real sense of jeopardy, I don’t know why they do this,” Haskell said on the BBC’s The Good, The Bad and The Rugby podcast. “A three-Test series against the All Blacks would make it a lot better.”

The former back-rower acknowledged the importance of giving other teams, such as Japan, exposure to the traditional rugby union powerhouses, but he believes this should not come at the expense of the three-Test tours.

“We need to go and visit these countries, playing against Japan is important, but not to the detriment of a three-Test series,” he explained.

Haskell emphasized that professional sports are about winning and the sense of “jeopardy” that a three-match series can provide.

“Kids sport might be about taking part, no one wins and you’re all friends, but top level sport is about winners and winning, or getting pumped and learning,” he stated.

The 39-year-old believes that a more streamlined and organized rugby union calendar, with a global season and fewer “irrelevant” fixtures, would allow for the retention of the coveted three-Test series that fans have come to expect.

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