After Wasps announced that four more members of their playing department (three players, one staff) have tested positive for Covid-19 this week, the reaction has not been all that surprising. This puts the chances of Wasps making the Gallagher Premiership final against newly crowned Champions Cup champions Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in jeopardy, with Bristol Bears on standby to replace them.
A statement released by Wasps said: “After consultation with the medical leads at Premiership Rugby, the RFU and Public Health England, the club will continue not to train at this stage.
“A decision on whether the club will play in Saturday’s Premiership Rugby final will be made following the results of a further set of testing to be undertaken on Tuesday. Exeter Chiefs and Bristol Bears have been made aware of the situation prior to the public release of this information.”
There is widespread dissatisfaction with the plans in place, but any option taken is not favourable in a season that is already unique enough.
One common criticism is that a team that lost the semi-final should not have the chance to potentially win the league. Moreover, Bristol were comprehensively beaten by Wasps in their play-off clash.
"The environment couldn’t be better set-up to avoid spread. Let’s hope it works out. Please God, we’ll get lucky"
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 18, 2020
Another problem relates to Sale Sharks, who were initially given a postponement before forfeiting their final game of the season due to coronavirus, therefore depriving them of a chance of making the knockout stages. This is of course a different stage in the competition, but that should not make a difference in many people’s eyes.
If Wasps are unable to make the final, regardless of whether Bristol go to Twickenham or not, one thing that has been raised is that this takes the shine off what has been a remarkable season at the Ricoh Arena.
The Coventry side were floundering near the foot of the table when Dai Young departed from the club in February. Under new head coach Lee Blackett, Wasps mounted a miraculous climb up the table, finishing the season in second.
There is certainly no guarantee that they would conquer a seemingly indomitable Chiefs side at Twickenham on Saturday, but to be robbed of the chance of capping one of the league’s most remarkable turnarounds is a devastating twist. Then again, that may be a befitting ending to the most turbulent season ever.
Imagine Bristol pitching up this Saturday and winning the Prem. Would either be ridiculous, or a suitably bizarre ending to the most bizarre season. I say if Wasps can’t play, give it to Exeter and let Jonny Hill keep drinking.
— David Flatman (@davidflatman) October 19, 2020
Absolutely gutting that it seems @WaspsRugby are going to be forced out of the premiership final. Having gone from 10th position in the league to the final, to then be denied the chance to win it would be truly devastating!! Hope it is resolved positively. https://t.co/QfX8xdkSiX
— Mr OJM (@Mr_OJM) October 19, 2020
Brutal news after what this team has accomplished in the later half of the season to get here.
— Trent Ledbetter (@tledbetter15) October 19, 2020
It is what it is. Bigger issues in the world at the moment. To look back at the start of the season and be told Wasps wod make the final but wouldn’t be able to play, I would have taken that.
We are loving in the right direction and doing the right thing if we don’t play.
— ???K (@jackthrelk) October 19, 2020
I'm all for Bristol replacing Wasps if they can't field a team.
It's a weird solution.
But these are weird times.
If the 2nd best team can't play, then the third should.
— Paul Williams (@thepaulwilliams) October 19, 2020
If Wasps forfeit just give it to Chiefs @premrugby, anything else is a farce.
— Ian Price (@goatteeboy) October 19, 2020
How about this…if Wasps have to withdraw then Exeter are crowned champions, but to still have a meaningful game shown on TV Bristol step in and play. Instead of it being for the premiership title we call it the European Cup Winners Cup as both teams fully deserve to be there
— James Ashrafi-Tari (@JAshrafiTari91) October 19, 2020
Would be an incredible shame for Wasps to miss due to circumstances totally beyond their control.
— Zac Campbell (@zprcampbell) October 20, 2020
I agree. It is not an attractive decision, but if Wasps are sadly unable to perform, then I imagine that the commercial pressures will require the next best team, BB, to play the final.
— john murphy (@john_murph) October 20, 2020
hope wasps make it obviously. but i dont agree here. Our tournament is not the top of the league its the winner of the final. if the final doesn't happen imo its not that chiefs are the winners its that there isnt a winner. i would say the integrity is worse if we have no final.
— Charles McGillivray (@saintsman13) October 20, 2020
truly bad situation for @WaspsRugby , feel for Wasps friends but the final needs to happen for several reasons (sporting, £TV, sponsorship, no window to move). #Bristolbears only option if Wasps can't play. On a positive note, only 72 days left of this bloody year #premrugby
— Jim O'Toole (@JimOToole) October 20, 2020
Agreed. Exeter v Wasps or no final is the best course of action. I suspect that BT Sport want a final.
— Glenn FX (@GlennTullett) October 20, 2020
The fact Premiership rugby was willing to rearrange a game for Sale but not for a final is farcical. If Wasps cannot play either rearrange it or give Exeter the title
— Peter Llewellyn (@Captqaukers) October 20, 2020
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