NONE of the players who have stuck their heads above the parapet in the ongoing battle over plans to extend the English rugby union will commit to it - but the term 'strike action' is being deployed in the manner of a rampaging flanker.

Premiership Rugby aims to extend the season from 2019/20, taking advantage of the realignment of international dates and the rugby calendar globally.

It is at pains to point out that this will enable teams to field their international players more often, while there will be breaks built into the season to give all players a breather.

Players - led by the Rugby Players Association - are adamant this will not work, and the resulting shorter breaks between seasons will not give players enough time to recover mentally as well as physically from the demands of the game.

Welsh rugby fans' pantomime villain Joe Marler and England scrum half Ben Youngs are among those to have declared that a strike might not be such an outlandish idea.

Saracens and England forward Billy Vunipola is sufficiently worried about the battering he takes regularly, to be prepared to take a pay cut to play less.

Even England captain, hooker Dylan Hartley, has this week indicated the need for some sort of collective response in opposition to the proposal.

Actually, 'proposal' may not be the right word, as Premiership Rugby indicated more than six months ago that it would be extending the season from 2019/20, and has shown no inclination to alter that stance.

Quite where that leaves the game o'er the border is anyone's guess, though it is a safe bet that rugby administrators and players from other parts of the UK and beyond will be watching very closely.

Premiership rugby union is a great advert for the game, and one can see why its administrators would want to squeeze the maximum benefit from it.

But it seems ironic that, in an age of increased awareness of the need to keep a close eye on player welfare, there has arisen a situation in which on the one hand, there are calls to ban tackling in schools rugby amid fears for the future brain and cognitive health of young players, while on the other a longer season - with the likelihood of playing later games on harder surfaces - is proposed.

Add the later internationals onto an extended club season and there will be 11 months of rugby union.

That doesn't give the fans much of a break either.

Football, with its international tournament qualifiers early in June, and the first of seemingly interminable European club competition qualifying rounds from the end of that month, already barely pauses for breath, even in summers when there aren't World Cup or European Championships finals.

I love football and rugby union, but I guarantee that I will care less about who wins the Premiership play-offs if they are held at the end of June, as proposed.

Nobody has mentioned it of course, but money is no doubt a factor for both sides in this dispute.

Players, perhaps quite reasonably, will want more remuneration for flogging themselves over a longer period, even if they don't actually play any more matches than under current arrangements.

And Premiership Rugby will surely have a beady eye on increasing its income from longer seasonal exposure.

This is the latest example perhaps, in favour of the argument that sport and money don't mix, though I admit that tends to be the view predominantly of middle-aged, jumpers-for-goalposts types such as myself.

In truth, seasons have lengthened gradually over many years, in the process pretty much wiping out one of the most romantic of sporting phenomena - the dual sport player.

When I was a lad, there were still a few who played county cricket in the summer and professional football for the rest of the year.

Notable among them was the late Chris Balderstone, who scored 93 goals in more than 550 appearances for four clubs during a 20-year career in professional football, and played almost 400 first class cricket matches, mainly for Leicestershire, also playing in two Test matches for England.

The ever-growing demands of most sports mean they just don't make them like that anymore.