Leicester Tigers vs Northampton Saints has today become the most recent victim to the Covid-19 pandemic having been cancelled. This follows a significant number of positive tests from within the Northampton Saints camp.
The cancelled game between Leicester and Northampton is the first casualty for this weekend so far. This comes after two games were called off in round five, namely the matches between Worcester and Harlequins as well as London Irish vs Northampton.
Speculation has run rife about the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on professional sport in the past few weeks. With infection rates soaring it seems unlikely that this will be the last we hear of games getting called off as the weeks and months progress.
💬 “We were confident that we have more than enough of our squad still healthy and available to play if required.
“But while this is a bitter pill to swallow, the health and safety of the players, staff and families of everyone at both Saints and Tigers is of course paramount.” pic.twitter.com/Sa2hpbEyO6
— Northampton Saints 😇 (@SaintsRugby) January 6, 2021
Leicester vs Northampton CANCELLED
It appears as if it will be Northampton who will have to pay the penalty of forfeiting the game once again this week. This means Leicester will gain four points with Northampton just the two.
The way the points are awarded in such a circumstance has garnered some criticism for its inconsistency across Europe. In the Champions Cup, the team that causes the cancellation gains zero points whilst the opposition gains five.
This has come in for criticism for being too harsh on the side that has had to cancel. However, the Premiership method has also received some criticism for diluting the value of points. Given the average number of points awarded in a Premiership game is around five, portioning six between the two sides could have an impact come the end of the season.
Director of Rugby at Northampton Saints, Chris Boyd has expressed his disappointment at the news.
“We are incredibly disappointed and frustrated that we are unable to proceed with such an important fixture for the Club”
He went onto point out just how important the East Midlands Derby is to supporters. Noting that “It’s a game entrenched in history and one our players particularly relish being a part of”.
This cancellation seems to have dented any momentum Saints had built after their Boxing Day win. Now they will face another uncertain wait before the next round of testing before the Round Seven fixtures. How this will all shake out for the struggling side remains to be seen.
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