Will Covid-19 disrupt any more of Gallagher Premiership competition

Will Covid-19 disrupt any more of Gallagher Premiership competition

It has the feeling that at a moment’s notice, it is not when but will Covid-19 disrupt any more of Gallagher Premiership competition?

Any more because, two games have recently been interrupted, and the news in Britain just keeps pointing towards another such [unfair] stop to the current Gallagher Premiership competition.

The will is something many people within the Premiership Rugby organization are working hard to isolate. Keeping the teams and the player’s in their own bubbles is literally how this season is progressing. Conditions and restrictions on public life are directly affecting the ability for fans to watch rugby live; while professional sport continues. It’s all taking place behind a wall, only accessible via PayTV.

Successful to date but it would be remiss to not think of the when…….although, nobody would really want that to occur.

If the authorities are to be believed, the pandemic has escalated. It is reaching new heights, and rugby; and team sports in particular, are not be adverse to the impact nationally. And today, LWOR receiveed notification from Premiership Rugby that two additional games will not proceed; due to positive test results.

Only four out of six scheduled games are possible. Last Word on Rugby, and every rugby paper across the country would suffer for it yet, it is our role to ask how can this practically continue, and more importantly ‘when will it’ adversely affect this season’s Gallagher Premiership competition? Affect the standings, and if not the authenticity.

Will Covid-19 disrupt any more of Gallagher Premiership competition

53,000 new cases of the more infectious strain of the Coronavirus were reported on Tuesday, December 29. Baffling to hear, scary to live around, and rugby is a game that seems to have an almost secondary nature to it. Not to say that each club has not lost any focus yet, it’s that if any individual were not concerned by the social impact of the situation, then they should take another look.

Government controls are increasing, from the borders to the valleys. Professional rugby union has managed to run several rounds yet each day, the newest implication is that as socializing has been minimized, how difficult will it ultimately become to operate safely? So how can groups of sportspeople travel up and down the country, without having unfair (and impractical) limitations imposed?

PCR testing has shown cases – in Round Five, sixteen of those who tested positive were players and two were members of staff. Yes it is a credit to the processes in place however, swabs and medical PPE cannot alter the threat to rugby’s continuity.

The English Premier League football competition has been rocked by positive cases. Manchester City being worst affected, yet as reports of Sheffield Wednesday players coming down with the virus, it is ‘dark days’ for the EPL. The league said 18 individuals had tested positive for the new coronavirus, the most in a week this season.

Newcastle and Leicester were each awarded competition points, when the Tigers were not fully fit. Not from a lack of training but from a socially transferrable virus. The Falcons earned four points, the Tigers only two. Why? Community and environmental conditions seem to be affecting the outcome……fans might state they are ‘out of the control of the Leicester management'[to a degree]. Some might see that as unjust; considering the Covid-climate, but looking at the points table, one team benefitted without being contesting for the ball.

When will the CEO of Premiership Rugby, Darren Childs, have his hand forced? One thinks possibly, only if more than 50% of any games in a single round are called off. Maybe. Could that will be the tipping point? Time will tell.

And stakeholders will ask, does the chairman Andy Higginson believe clubs should be penalized when being forced to travel across the country?

Yes, questions that may only be answered in the next few days (or weeks) yet, a proactive decision now might be to pause/reset the Gallagher Premiership competition deserves. Especially if anymore suspended games need to be rescheduled [at what point in this crowded calendar, can any more rugby be realistically squeezed in]. Strange days indeed.

At this point, Round Five fixtures appear to be set in stone. Even while Northampton Saints report cases, and all the while, the national casualty ward results in Ambulances being parked in hospitals, to cater to an ever-growing Covid-19 ward.

If I were a player in the league – rugby or football – I would be asking more questions of decision-makers.


Gallagher Premiership competition – Round Five

Canceled: Northampton Saints v London Irish | Worcester Warriors v Harlequins
Still to be played: Bath v Newcastle Falcons |  Wasps v Exeter Chiefs | Gloucester v Sale Sharks | Leicester Tigers v Bath


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