Newcastle head coach Dave Walder has backed the ring-fencing of the Gallagher Premiership as England’s top flight deals with the ramifications of cancelled matches due to the continued impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Winners of the truncated 2019/20 Championship, Newcastle moved up second in the Premiership last weekend with four points for a win award by a league results panel of the league. Opponents Leicester, who were hit by positive tests, collected two points.

With Leicester having finished eleventh in the last two seasons and still to prove they can steer clear of another relegation battle, the two points they received could be vital. London Irish collected the same number of points after being unable to face Bath.

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Ring-fencing has been predicted to happen in the Premiership once Saracens return to the top flight following their automatic relegation for salary cap breaches and Walder believes his personal view – not Newcastle’s – is the right one for the league given the current impact of cancelled matches.

“My position is that I would support ring-fencing for a period of time to let clubs get their finances in order,” said Walder ahead of Newcastle’s New Year’s Day trip to Bristol. “There was talk about clubs being in financial trouble and it shows how financially fragile the sport is and that is going to carry on until we get out the other side of this.

“While I also understand the downside in terms of the excitement of the league and quality of rugby, which is another side of the argument, ring-fencing would help with financial stability. I felt embarrassed when we got relegated and your squad is disrupted. It does upset the apple cart and does affect the development of your club for a couple of years because of sponsors wanting to leave.

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“There is no easy answer at the moment and we all have our Covid precautions in place. You can’t postpone matches at the moment with all the talk about player welfare and the Leicester match has been recorded as a 0-0 result for points difference. It would be interesting to see what happened if both teams were unable to fulfil a fixture. From our side, we take it and move on.

“We are very happy with our start in the Premiership… and if you had asked our squad if playing on Boxing Day they would get a win they would have snapped your hand off.”

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