The England Rugby Football Union's plan for England to host New Zealand at Twickenham on November 4 could be scuppered by opposition from several Aviva Premiership clubs.

As the match falls outside the designated international window, the RFU would need Premiership Rugby's permission to release its England players under World Rugby Regulation 9. Tony Rowe, the Exeter Chiefs chairman, told The Daily Telegraph that he would be strongly against the proposal of cramming an extra Test into an already packed calendar.

"Why should we be supportive?" Rowe said. "The problem is that it is nice for our lads to come through our academy system and play for England but sometimes they expect too much of them."

It is understood that opinion is shared by many of his counterparts at other Premiership clubs.


The RFU last year signed an eight-year deal with Premiership Rugby governing player release, but that did not include provisions for any Tests played outside the international window. Premiership Rugby has previously taken a hard line on allowing player release for countries such as Wales outside the window.

Clearly a match between England and New Zealand, who are next due to meet in 2018, would generate a huge amount of money as well as excitement. Yet Rowe indicated that finances are a secondary concern to player welfare, especially in the year of a Lions series that will inevitably take a heavy toll.

"The game is so tough today that the bodies can only take so much before they break," Rowe said. "There will be clubs who have players go on the Lions tour and won't see them again for months.

"The RFU crack on regardless. They don't exactly go out of their way to help the Premiership clubs but they go out of their way to use our assets whenever possible. The reality is that most clubs need their stars available because the supporters, to some degree, come to watch the stars. If they are pinched by the RFU, or any other nation, to make more money then it does not do us a lot of good."

The RFU will meet Premiership Rugby on Thursday at a scheduled meeting of the Professional Game Board. Privately, the RFU concedes that there are several hurdles that will have to be cleared to stage what would be a hugely-anticipated game.

England, the Six Nations champions, will overtake New Zealand's record of 18 consecutive victories if they beat Ireland in Dublin on Saturday.

An RFU spokesman said: "We are playing New Zealand in 2018. If an opportunity arose to play New Zealand before 2018 we would pursue it."