Premiership stars are facing burn-out, says players' chief

PLAYERS&rsquo; chiefs have responded to fears over the welfare of professionals by calling for compulsory rest periods to be made more widespread.<br /><br />The credit crunch has forced Premiership clubs to trim their squads, meaning a greater burden is being placed on each player.<br /><br />And Rugby Players&rsquo; Association chief Damian Hopley believes enforced periods of rest would help players avoid injuries caused by wear and tear. &ldquo;A key action point regards the inevitable reduction in squad sizes across the Premiership due to the tough economic climate,&rdquo; Hopley said. &ldquo;All 12 Premiership clubs are involved in three domestic and European competitions and the emergence of midweek games against touring international sides means club players are facing an unrelenting schedule of fixtures in the coming weeks.<br /><br />&ldquo;Therefore we will be sitting down with Premier Rugby to discuss compulsory rest periods for all players during the season. We also want to identify a solution that can ensure player welfare remains the primary concern for everyone involved in the sport.&rdquo;<br /><br />Players from England&rsquo;s Elite Player Squad are already required to rest for a set number of games a season. But that has not prevented a host of the country&rsquo;s top players becoming injured. England boss Martin Johnson will be without a dozen elite players for the upcoming November internationals, including Andrew Sheridan and Phil Vickery. <br />