A ball has not been kicked in the Gallagher Premiership since Bristol’s 28-15 win over Harlequins at Ashton Gate on March 8. More than seven weeks have since passed, with the conclusion of the 2019/20 season thrown into doubt by the indefinite suspension of the campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic outbreak.
There have been fears in the interim that the season might not be restarted, but hopes are now growing that there will be rugby on the horizon soon amid reports that most Premiership clubs are planning to return to training on June 1 with matches to follow at the end of that month.
Nine rounds of regular season fixtures remain to be played after the campaign was abruptly halted due to the virus. However, with the peak in Britain now suggested to have passed, plans are being firmed up to get the rugby show back on the road.
It’s believed the PRL are looking to stage the remaining 54 matches in a five-week period, with matches played on every day of the week at one venue – including several on the same day.
A report in the Daily Mail suggests that Twickenham and the Ricoh Arena have been suggested as the grounds most suitable to stage an ambitious made for TV schedule due to those stadiums having an adjacent hotel and plenty of room in the grounds to host broadcast crews looking to comfortably adhere to the current social distancing guidelines.
Upwards of three matches could be staged on any one day, but these provisional plans are dependant on government support, the availability of Covid-19 testing kits and agreement from the Rugby Players’ Association who could well see a cap on the maximum number of minutes a player can play in his particular team’s nine matches prior to the semi-finals and final.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now