'Quit on this season altogether'
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward has called on rugby administrators to draw a line under the 2019/20 season and start planning immediately for 2020/21 instead.
With all tournaments having indefinitely ground to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak, there are talks about extending the season and also playing the postponed Six Nations games in late October.
However, writing in his Daily Mail column, former England coach Woodward wants all potential contingency plans scratched now and the emphasis alternatively placed on starting all over whenever rugby can get the go-ahead to proceed again in the long-term as he doesn’t envisage any matches happening any time soon.
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“These are extraordinary times and it is obvious live professional sport will not be returning any time soon. When it does, we need a fresh start,” he insisted, going on to criticise Six Nations officials for the dithering management of their tournament.
“While accepting these are difficult times, I was a little disappointed at the manner in which the Six Nations reacted to the coronavirus threat.
“We have been crying out for decisive and early calls, some leadership. Alas, nobody stepped into that vacuum. You would have expected World Rugby to be on top of everything but they have no real jurisdiction over the Six Nations, a huge weakness in rugby’s governance.
“The writing was on the wall on February 26 when Ireland’s game against Italy was called off. Once it became clear how serious things were in Italy, all bets were off. I felt very uneasy — and wrote to that effect — about the staging of the England v Wales game at Twickenham last week.
“Sometimes you just have to stand back and get some perspective. What we thought important one morning was irrelevant the next.
“It’s all over: the 2020 Six Nations, the Premiership, the PRO14, the Top 14 and the two European competitions.
“There is no mileage in banging our heads against a brick wall on this. It will make life much easier going forward if we quit on this season altogether. We have to concentrate on 2020/21 now.”
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