THE Gallagher Premiership needs to be ring-fenced for “three years” to allow clubs to “give youth a chance”.

That is the view of former Worcester Warriors lock Darren Barry who believes the fear of the drop is hampering the development of top English talent.

A meeting is expected to be held on September 13 when rugby chiefs will be asked to support contentious proposals for a 13-team Premiership.

The plan is for no relegation in the 2019-20 campaign, with Newcastle Falcons likely to come back up, followed by a two-legged play-off between the bottom Premiership club and the top Championship team in future seasons.

Barry has endured spells in the second tier with Bristol Bears and Cornish Pirates and is set for another season outside the top-flight after joining relegated Newcastle this summer.

The 29-year-old reckons Ealing Trailfinders are the only Championship outfit aside from Falcons that are “potentially ready financially to make a push” for a Premiership place.

“They should be looking at something where for a period of time promotion and relegation is stopped,” Barry told the Rugby Paper.

“It gives teams like Newcastle, Worcester and London Irish – your traditional sides who fighting towards the bottom of the Premiership – time to invest in their squads and give youth a chance.

“It also gives the Championship clubs the chance to do the same.

“Rather than risking another London Welsh (situation), teams like Ealing and Cornish Pirates can build their stadiums, develop their infrastructure and academies with the proviso that in three to five years there could be promotion and relegation or even expansion and that they would be ready to go up.”

Barry cites Warriors rising star Ted Hill as an example of a young player that has managed to establish himself in England’s top tier.

But the forward believes clubs will be willing to turn to more academy aces if the threat of relegation was no longer hanging over them.

“I would close the Premiership off for three years,” Barry said.

“It would be good for young academy players because clubs don’t have the risk of being relegated if things don’t go well for them.

“Whatever anybody might say, the pressure at the bottom is intense and you tend to see in recruitment that teams go for big names or safer, more experienced options because they know they need to stay in the Premiership as a minimum recruitment.

“What you want to see, though, are more examples like Ted Hill, who has come through at Worcester and made a big impact in the Premiership.

“He has done it anyway but there would be even more of them if you had a moratorium on promotion and relegation.

“It would just give teams a chance to build from within rather than always having to look outside.”

Barry made 82 appearances in four seasons at Warriors but has now moved north to Newcastle and has already set his sights on silverware.

“If you are joining a team like Falcons and they are in the Championship, it is non-negotiable that we are aiming to get back up,” Barry added.

“I am really looking forward to it.

“It is great to make a fresh start after leaving Worcester and I will be trying to make an impact.”