The Heineken Champions Cup was dealt a hammer blow this week after two matches were cancelled due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Exeter Chiefs camp. The reigning champions were set to take on last season’s losing semi-finalists Toulouse at the Stade Ernest Wallon on Sunday in what was promising to be one of the games of the pool stages.
Aside from that match falling by the wayside, another repercussion of the outbreak at Exeter is that their opponents from last weekend, Glasgow Warriors, have also had their Champions Cup match against Lyon at Scotstoun cancelled.
European Professional Club Rugby’s statement said: “As per its Covid-19 protocol, EPCR will convene the match result resolution committees to determine the results of the cancelled matches and the decisions of the committees will be communicated as soon as practicable.”
This problem with cancellations has already arisen this year in other competitions. Fiji were handed 28-0 losses in the matches they could not play in the recent Autumn Nations Cup, while a 20-0 loss was applied to Covid-hit teams in the final round of the Gallagher Premiership in October.
The majority of fans know the drill by now and while this is an unfortunate reality in the current climate, Glasgow fans feel they are entitled to preferential treatment in this Champions Cup situation.
Defending champs @ExeterChiefs sent out a warning with a dominant Round 1 victory ?
Rob Baxter's men ran in six tries and prevented opponents Glasgow Warriors from registering a point ?
How impressive were they? pic.twitter.com/5z93oaotGi
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 14, 2020
In this new format of the Champions Cup with only four rounds of rugby and two pools, two losses more or less would end Glasgow’s chance of progress which was already in jeopardy following last Sunday’s 42-0 loss at Sandy Park.
In light of that win, Exeter are still in a position where they could survive despite forfeiting against Toulouse. A situation like this needs to be taken seriously and while it is wrong for one team to be penalised, the buck has to stop somewhere and that is with Exeter on this occasion.
But Glasgow have come off worse from this in turn simply because they were Exeter’s last opponents and then fans want that to be taken into consideration before a result for the cancelled Lyon game is reached.
First I hope all are well. However, “EPCR will convene Match Result Resolution Committees to determine the results of the cancelled matches”. Surely they won’t award the game to Lyon when this appears to be Exeter’s issue pushed onto us?!
— Alistair (@rugbywarrior) December 16, 2020
Does that mean a 28-0 loss as can’t field a team?!? Hammered twice due to Exeter in a week ?
— Big G (@B1gStevo) December 16, 2020
i would think 20-0 defeat for chiefs in their game and 0-0 for GW game would be fairer considering GW did nothing wrong. Then chiefs may say they did nothing wrong either, just unfortunate contacts at home or something… it will be messy.
— James Broderick (@10Broderick) December 16, 2020
Competition about to be decided off the pitch.
— Phil Taylor ??????? ?? ?? (@rugbypct) December 16, 2020
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