Rugby fans are grateful to watch rugby again. It’s been a turbulent year. Thankfully, they’ve still been able to watch their team play and follow the sport they love so dearly. Albeit from the comfort of their own home and not in the stands with a beer.
Despite the 2020/21 season not kicking off until mid-November last year, it’s been undoubtedly uplifting and a little bit unpredictable to say the least. Fans are grateful they can watch rugby again.
When the news broke last month that there’d be no relegation at the end of the current campaign due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s almost like there’s been some weight lifted off players’ and coaches’ shoulders. That said, it’s been the most competitive league to date. Any team can beat any club on their day. There’s been some real talent displayed by some of the young players. They have made a huge impact for their respective clubs.
Players such as Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers) and Louis Rees-Zammit (Gloucester) have lit up the Premiership by storm. So has Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish), the Willis brothers (Jack and Tom for Wasps) and Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints). It is incredibly exciting to see the young talent that has broken into the Premiership so far this season. There’s still so much more to come from them too, with consistency at game time being key to their development as players. It’s been a joy to watch them so far and the future is bright for these youngsters.
Although poor Jack Willis will have a while to wait before he can play again. The back-row forward suffered a horrific knee injury last month for England against Italy. He looks set to be out for a year. However, he’ll be back and play for his country again. Everyone in the rugby community is rooting for him.
Other players who have been playing some quality rugby this season include Alex Dombrandt, Will Evans and Marcus Smith for Harlequins. Also, Sam Simmonds for the Exeter Chiefs. They have been called numerous times to be picked by Eddie Jones for England. That’s because they’re incredibly talented athletes who have consistently been playing well for their respective clubs. That’s what the fans think on social media and not forgetting the pundits too.
After yesterday’s performance for Exeter Chiefs, many are convinced Sam Simmonds will be selected for the British and Irish Lions squad by Warren Gatland.
This weekend, the Championship fans also had something to cheer about. To their delight, their tournament was finally able to begin. It’s been an incredibly tough few months for the clubs. Clubs were worried they wouldn’t be able to take part. This is due to funding cuts made by the RFU and the significant cost of Coronavirus testing. Bedford Blues and Ampthill Rugby Club created a Go Fund Me page to allow fans to help pay for lateral flow testing. The generosity from the fans was unbelievable and both clubs can now stably compete in their league.
Saturday afternoon saw Saracens lose to Cornish Pirates: 25-17. The former Premiership and European Champions were outmuscled in Penzance. It was a shame the Cornish faithful couldn’t watch the result from the stands and celebrate an almighty win. However, it was an iconic moment in Championship history and it makes the competition a lot tastier going forward.
The rugby community should feel extremely grateful they’re able to watch the game they love. That’s due to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Clubs have been working tirelessly to allow games to go ahead and be watched on our telly so let’s raise a glass and celebrate properly when restrictions have been lifted.
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