Newcastle Falcons have revealed they are in the dark over whether Friday’s RFU announcement to end the Championship season with immediate effect has ended their promotion hopes.

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Relegated at the end of the 2018/19 season from the Gallagher Premiership, the Falcons had been laying waste to the second tier of English rugby in an effort to regain their top-flight status. 

With 15 of their 22 matched played, they had posted win in all 15 outings and were clear at the top of the table on 71 points, 18 ahead of second-place Ealing Trailfinders with seven matches remaining. 

Newcastle were expected to go on and soon clinch the title.

However, with that no longer possible on the field of play following the RFU’s season-ending decision due to the coronavirus outbreak, there is now confusion about what that will mean for the 2020/21 season and whether Falcons will be replacing the automatically relegated Saracens in the Premiership as was envisaged.

Saracens were demoted in January for repeated breaches of the salary cap and Newcastle were looking forward to replacing them in the Premiership.

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However, Friday’s decision pulled the rug from underneath them has created doubt over what will happen. In a tweet shortly after the RFU’s season-ending announcement, Newcastle said: “We appreciate lots of you have questions today. Please be assured we are not ignoring you.”

A follow-up tweet just over 30 minutes later read: “Newcastle Falcons have taken note of today’s announcement from the RFU regarding the 2019/20 season coming to a premature close. Once we have clarity on the situation we will communicate further with supporters and stakeholders.”

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