Further delay for Premiership clubs
NEWS: English Premiership chiefs on Wednesday indefinitely suspended the 2019/20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic but said they were committed to finishing the campaign.
The last game was played on March 8. The previous plan was that the English top-flight would resume on April 24 but that is not possible with Britain in the grip of the health crisis.
Premiership Rugby organisers are liaising with the Rugby Football Union, clubs and medical staff on a number of potential scenarios.
“The intention is to play all games and complete the season as soon as it can be done safely,” Premiership Rugby said in a statement.
“In the meantime, Premiership Rugby continues to give its full support to the lockdown measures and encourage everyone to stay home, protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives.”
Chief executive Darren Childs said the effects of the coronavirus had been “heartbreaking and devastating” but he also outlined the economic challenges ahead.
“Many livelihoods are built on professional sport and Premiership Rugby is proud to be home to many of the world’s greatest players,” he said.
“But the livelihoods are not just those of talented players – there are many vital roles across the clubs, from academy teams to medics, canteen staff to groundspeople.”
There are nine rounds of Premiership matches remaining before the scheduled semi-finals and final. Exeter lead the table by five points after 13 rounds of fixtures.
All rugby below the Premiership in England has been brought to an end.
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*Meanwhile, Rugbypass reported that Sale Sharks, who stand second in the Premiership, are planning to recall their Springboks players who have returned to South Africa by the middle of next month to prepare for a continuation of the season.
*Also read: Boks set to be ordered back to England
With rugby suspended, it is understood that Sale Sharks’ Springboks – headed by Faf de Klerk and the three Du Preez brothers Rob, Dan and Jean Luc – travelled home to South Africa along with World Cup-winning lock Lood de Jager who has just revealed on social media that his wife is pregnant.
The players are likely to leave for England in the middle of next month to ensure they can take part in what will be effectively a second pre-season build-up with number of airlines are still flying to South Africa, although domestic flights are not due to start again until April 16.
Hard running centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg remained in England during the lockdown.
Sources: AFP & Rugbypass
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