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'It does impact on the integrity of the competition': Number of cancelled Premiership matches now stands at 5

By Chris Jones

Trending on RugbyPass

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Worcester boss Alan Solomons believes the integrity of the Gallagher Premiership is being compromised by the recent flurry of match cancellations, the latest being the call-off of next Saturday’s East Midlands derby featuring Northampton and Leicester.      

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While the opening three rounds of the 2020/21 season went ahead as planned, the league has been subjected to a post-Christmas slump as two round four, two round five and now one round six games have been cancelled. 

That list includes Worcester’s New Year’s Day game at home to Harlequins. Worcester were awarded four points when the London club were hit by positive tests and unable to take part – although they received two points which have been a controversial addition to a Premiership season that seems certain to throw up more problems.

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Goodbye 2020!

While Solomons stopped short of calling for an end to relegation this season due to the number of matches decided by a panel rather than on the pitch, he admitted his experience of ring-fencing in Super Rugby made it an attractive option. 

“There are a lot of benefits, not only commercial, for ring-fencing while there are arguments the other way,” said Solomons. “The effect of Covid-19 has sharpened everyone’s minds on this and put a focus on the question.”

Solomons, who has added Scotland winger Duhan van der Merwe to his squad for next season and also brought in ex-Wales wing Mark Jones to the coaching team, heads to Sale on Friday night with the Warriors in eleventh place in the table, two points above bottom-placed Gloucester.

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He continued: “We are operating in very difficult times and we are doing our best to keep the game going. If we don’t it will, commercially, be a disaster for the game. Of course, it’s not perfect. We have to make the best of a bad situation and it does impact on the integrity of the competition.

“Everyone is trying to find an equitable solution to keep the game going and that is vital. The powers that be have to make those decisions (about no relegation) and I don’t think you can say the competition is normal in the sense that games are having to be called off and points allocated. 

“That is not like playing a competition in normal times and the consequences have to be considered by the powers that be. There are arguments both ways (for ring-fencing) and I have come out of Super Rugby where we were ring-fenced when I was involved and that worked very well.”

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'It does impact on the integrity of the competition': Number of cancelled Premiership matches now stands at 5

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