Premiership Rugby have been thrown into an invidious position ahead of the Gallagher Premiership final this week with a number of Wasps players contracting Covid-19 before the English league showpiece versus Exeter. After another round of testing, Wasps will find out this Wednesday if they can make the final.
The contingency plan that was in place when the season restarted was that if a team could not make the final, the next highest placed team would replace them. That is Bristol Bears in this situation, who could step in to face Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham.
That may not have been too problematic had Bristol not succumbed to a resounding 47-24 loss to Wasps in the semi-final. Consequently, the general feeling is that Pat Lam’s side are undeserving of a potential place in the final.
Such an ending, though, is equally symptomatic of this bizarre season. If the match has to be played, there is one idea that is being mooted online as an attempt to assuage the outcry from those that feel the integrity of the Premiership is at stake if Exeter must play Bristol.
Bristol may have lost their Premiership semi-final against Wasps, but they did win the European Challenge Cup final last week against Toulon. A day later Exeter were crowned Heineken Champions Cup winners with a victory over Racing 92.
It's proving to be quite a week so far… and we're only into Tuesday ?https://t.co/vlvyEh7VQm
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 20, 2020
The situation, therefore, has fallen into the laps of organisers to create a European Super Cup between the two clubs. This is an idea taken from football where the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League compete for the UEFA Super Cup.
It means that Exeter could be named Premiership champions, but can still face Bristol in a match that has meaning and legitimacy. The majority of people feel it is only fair that Rob Baxter’s side are crowned champions if they cannot face the other semi-final winners, particularly after topping the league.
With less than a week’s notice, this idea may be wishful thinking as Premiership Rugby had already accounted for this exact situation arising. However, it was not foreseen that this potential match would be between two European champions, meaning there is a chance to make the best of a bad situation.
If it comes to it, put on a ‘European Super Cup’ exhibition game as suggested elsewhere. No way you can possible justify giving Bristol a shot at the the title, having shipped nearly 50 in a semi. Risk losing an audience.
— Ross Hancock (@RossiHancock) October 19, 2020
Personally however, if the TV Broadcasters are willing to accept it, and if Wasps can’t make it, annoint Exeter the champions and make it a “Super Cup Challenge” between the European Champions Cup Winners and the European Challenge Cup Winners.
— Tony Dyer (@TonyDDyer) October 19, 2020
It’s a silly situation really. Let’s see if Wasps can play or not. There may yet be more to the story if/when Bristol are thrust into it!
Like the idea of giving Exeter the win and still having a Super Cup type match tho ?
— Neil Wilmer (@NeilWilmer) October 19, 2020
If Wasps can’t play then Exeter should be handed the win. If TV demands a game then play Exeter v Bristol as a “European Super Cup”
— Drew (@drewlaing48) October 19, 2020
If they are desperate for TV money play a Champions Cup v Challenge Cup style match between the two at Twickenham on Saturday. Just don’t have the Premiership trophy up for grabs at the end of it.
— The Wasps Report (@TheWaspsReport) October 19, 2020
How about if wasps can’t play then give Exeter the title and then Bristol and Exeter play a kind of super cup match ( challenge cup winners v champions cup winners ) so a game takes place just not for the title ????
— Tim Coles (@trc669) October 19, 2020
How about this…give Exeter the title but have Bristol v Exeter fill the tv time in a European Cup Winners Cup…Exeter aren’t robbed of the title, Bristol play in a game they fully deserve to be in, and no lost tv money. Everybody wins (except Wasps)
— James Ashrafi-Tari (@JAshrafiTari91) October 19, 2020
As a Bristol fan (with a 50/1 bet on too btw) I quite liked the suggestion that if Wasps cannot play Exeter are awarded the trophy but to satisfy TV Bristol play Exeter for a ‘Super Cup’ after the recent European wins …..
— Dave Gardner (@deeg159) October 20, 2020
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