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Worcester statement: Gloucester match cancelled over lack of props

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images)

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Friday night’s Gallagher Premiership clash between Gloucester and Worcester at Kingsholm has been cancelled just five hours before the planned 7.45pm kick-off due to a last of props and won’t be rescheduled. While the allocation of points now having to be decided by an independent panel, the playoff-chasing Gloucester will likely be unhappy that they didn’t have the chance to play the fixture to try and secure the bonus-point win that would earn them five points in the chase to make the top four.

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Previous points allocations this season and last season for cancelled games have seen teams receive four and two points respectively – and the opportunity now lost to play for a possible five points on the field might have an effect on the end-of-season standings given that a bottleneck of clubs that are trying to reach the semi-finals.

That is, of course, unless the league’s administrators award Gloucester a win with five match points. This last happened when Sale couldn’t play Worcester at the end of the 2019/20 season and the Warriors received a 20-0 win with five match points. 

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A Premiership Rugby statement read: “Premiership Rugby can confirm that tonight’s Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Worcester Warriors has been cancelled. Covid-19 cases, illness and injuries in the Worcester Warriors squad means that they are unable to field the required six front row players to start a Gallagher Premiership Rugby match.

“An independent panel will now be convened to decide the points allocation and that decision will be communicated in due course but Premiership Rugby can confirm the match will not be replayed.”

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A separate statement from Worcester explained: “We currently have 36 players unavailable due to injury, illness or Covid-19, leaving us with only eighteen fully fit players, of whom just three are prop forwards. When the side to face Gloucester was announced on Thursday we named the only four fit props in the club at that stage. The availability of Murray McCallum, who was named as replacement tighthead, was subject to him passing a fitness test on Friday morning. Unfortunately, Murray failed that fitness test.

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“Gloucester and Premiership Rugby have now been notified that we no longer have sufficient fit and available front row forwards to allow tonight’s match to proceed safely. We apologise to Gloucester, supporters of both clubs and BT Sport for the inconvenience this will inevitably cause but exceptional circumstances have conspired against us.”

A Gloucester statement added: “Gloucester is extremely disappointed to confirm that tonight’s fixture against Worcester Warriors has been cancelled, following a forfeit by the opposition. Worcester Warriors have stated that they are unable to field a team due to a combination of injuries and illness.

“Gloucester would like to extend its deepest apologies to our supporters. While this is not a matter which the club was able to influence despite best efforts, we recognise the significant disruption this causes for both sets of supporters, players and staff.

“The club will work with Premiership Rugby and the RFU as a matter of urgency to determine next steps, after which point, we will be in touch with club members and ticket purchasers to confirm the refund process.”

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