Professional rugby union in Leeds is all but over with the confirmation that Yorkshire Carnegie are getting relegated to National League 1.

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The RFU have ended the Championship season prematurely due to COVID-19, and have now agreed that all league standings would be calculated on a best playing record formula.

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This means Newcastle Falcons will be promoted to the Gallagher Premiership next year to replace Saracens, while Richmond will be promoted from National League 1 to the Greene King IPA Championship.

Yorkshire Carnegie had effectively moved to a semi-professional status last year, but their relegation to the third tier of English rugby has now cast major doubt on the club existing in any sort of professional capacity – for now at least.

Yorkshire Carnegie didn’t win a game all season and earned just two losing bonus points. Their points difference for the season ended up at minus 528, an average losing margin of over 37 points a game.

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It’s a long way to fall for a team that finished fourth in the Premiership in the 2002/03 season.

RFU President, Peter Wheeler, said: “We believe that the decisions made provide fair and balanced outcomes for the game and maintain the integrity of the competitions. We have listened to recommendations from the heart of the game and the approach has been ratified by the RFU Council.

“This has been a difficult decision to make in the most unprecedented of circumstances. There is no single solution that will suit every club, but the approach taken is one that we believe best reflects the nature of league rugby in England.

“With 80% of the season complete for the community game, we believe our approach is fair and the right one for our leagues. We have clubs that are clear league leaders and worthy of promotion, but also other clubs who have said they would benefit from relegation, to play more meaningful rugby.”

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