'Protect rugby's integrity': All Blacks captain Kieran Read blasts World League concept

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read has voiced his objection to the proposed Rugby World League competition reportedly being fast tracked by the game's governing body.

Read, a member of the International Rugby Players Association, has been quoted in a statement questioning the motives of World Rugby.

"After listening to the issues raised by many of the players, we need to be very careful that we balance the commercial needs of the game with the player welfare needs, and ensure the quality and integrity of matches meets expectations," Read said.

"Fans want to see meaningful games; they don't want to see fatigued players playing a reduced quality of rugby as part of a money-driven, weakened competition that doesn't work for the players and clubs.

"With new technologies, new broadcast deals and new money coming into the sport, this is a crucial moment for rugby and one that many players are generally excited about. However, we have to make sure that the integrity of the game and welfare of the players is protected."

Nearly 40 players, including World Rugby's Player of the Year Johnny Sexton, spoke on a recent conference call presenting a united front against the proposed format.

The players were especially concerned about the lack of opportunities for tier-two countries - including the Pacific Island nations.

There is also the potential under the rules set down by World Rugby of increased conflicts between clubs and players.

Sexton, the International Rugby Players Association president, believes the bones of the World League are promising but it appears the powers that be have been driven by commercial gain rather than player welfare.

"While players gave this idea a cautious welcome when we met at the end of last year, it now seems like a commercial deal on the future of the game is being negotiated at a rapid pace, with little consideration given to the important points we raised with World Rugby in November.

"The issue of player load has never been so topical, however it needs to be properly understood. To suggest that players can play five incredibly high-level test matches in consecutive weeks in November is out of touch and shows little understanding of the physical strain this brings."

England's star playmaker Owen Farrell stressed that the players support the idea of a global season but what is being proposed comes nowhere near in meeting the requirements of players, clubs, country and fans.

"Players are open to discussing a new global season, but [it] has to work with the club game in order to reduce conflict, deal with player release issues and make sure their welfare is looked after.

"The proposal presented to us doesn't seem to have considered this properly."