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Diamond predicts the points split from cancelled Gloucester game

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

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Steve Diamond insists that the lingering Gloucester anger over the cancellation of their Gallagher Premiership home game with Worcester, which this week has been the subject of a Sports Resolutions UK investigation, will not create bad blood between the local rivals. The panel will deliver their ruling over the match points allocation on Thursday and Diamond, who appeared before the legal experts on Tuesday to give the Worcester side of the case, believes the Warriors have been given a fair hearing.

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Gloucester were incensed by the late cancellation of the league fixture which will not be replayed, but the teams are to meet in the semi-final of the Premiership Rugby Cup on Wednesday, April 27. Worcester were unable to play the Premiership game on March 25 as they were without 36 players and only three of the fully-fit 18 players available were props. That left them short of the required six front-rowers that have to be named in the matchday squad for a game to go ahead. 

The match was called off just five hours before the scheduled 7:45pm kick-off and it hit Gloucester hard as they had to refund the anticipated 10,000-plus attendance. George Skivington’s team are chasing a top-four finish and they want the maximum possible league points – five – from the panel verdict as they are currently seventh on the table.

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Diamond, the incoming Worcester director of rugby, addressed the cancellation at his media briefing on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s away league game. He said: “I don’t think this has damaged our relationship. We disagreed on a couple of things but that is always the case – people are never swimmingly getting on with each other and there is always competition and, as I have realised coming to Worcester, the closer you are to other clubs the more parochial it is.

“It is very difficult to have any lingering problems with a club that is far more senior than you. Rugby doesn’t hold grudges like that and there have been plenty of games cancelled and you just get on with it, but no doubt it will add a bit to the publicity before the (cup) game.

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“We went to London on Tuesday and sat in front of the independent panel who seemed very fair and both parties will be informed around 4pm Thursday of the outcome. They have to listen to all the evidence and look at the regulations. I was very impressed with the panel and they were very fair. There was a very senior judge in charge of it and two other professional solicitors were his assistants.

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“We will see what comes out in the wash. I would expect four points for Gloucester and two for us and our case is very simple. It was a case of covid and the panel have listened to it. Gloucester have attempted to state that wasn’t the case and the cause, but we have the medical people who have put their opinion over and we will see what the independent panel make of it.”

Worcester, meanwhile, will be without Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe against Wasps as he is struggling with a rib injury.

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