World news – Ruaidhri O’Connor: The show has to go on as Ireland and the provinces are in a limbo due to the uncertainty in the rugby season


Belfast Telegraph



Shut down

Less than 90 minutes after the country’s government ordered the teams to abandon the Heineken Champions Cup, the French federation released Les Bleus’ roster for the Six Nations, which starts in less than a month.

The top 14 quickly filled the void created by the “temporary suspension” of European competition when organizers fixed four games that were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic while the English Premier League took a different path and decided to take a break two weekends.

Well, there hasn’t been an official word from the Irish Provincial League yet, but it is assumed they are trying to fill the two weekends with fixtures and that Munster’s postponed meeting with Leinster on Saturday of the week in Thomond Park will take place.

At the moment there are no games planned for the league that go beyond last weekend’s sta Finding round 13, and some return matches planned for the end of the month and the first weekend of the Six Nations.

Despite the decision of the French government that clubs from this country cannot play against English teams in January, plan The organizers of Six Nations continue the scheduled start of the tournament.

Administrators will meet with French officials today to explain why they believe the competition can be conducted safely.

They will be on the successful The end of the autumn tournament and the Autumn Nations Cup, which took place under increasing restrictions across Europe, while highlighting the fact that France will only meet a team from Great Britain in the third round.

The team of Fabien Galthie however, it is in Dublin in round two, and with the British variant predominant in Ireland there is now an increase This game is at risk.

The uncertainty is high, but Ireland head coach Andy Farrell wants his players to play at least one meaningful game before the squad is announced in the last week of January.

Munster against Leinster on January 23rd would do well but Ulster have no return legs and Connacht’s games are scheduled for late this month and early February.

The league has been constrained by the fact that EPCR has not been able to suspend its tournaments, until asked, as the organizers believed they could play both rounds safely.

Finally the government communique came and the announcement followed at 5:30 pm yesterday. Now the challenge is to logistically play a round of games at such short notice.

The provinces will play two A-games this weekend and possibly face anyone who is short of time in these games when the league cannot continue.

The challenge for the Champions Cup organizers is to finish the competition on the four weekends available to them in April and May.

The most likely solution would be to have the eight best teams from the Pools A and B go to a round of 16 and the winners reach a one-off quarter-final.

Although Ulster and Connacht would be eliminated from the tournament, they will get a second piece of cherry in the Challenge Cup, with the bottom eight Champions Cup clubs in to be among the eight best teams of this tournament in a round of 16.

April is far away, however. For now, the rugby administrators are focused on keeping the show on the road in the face of rising caseloads and new variations.

The tournament organizers were forced to concede defeat trying to host the competition in its traditional February and March window , with April and May now planned as alternatives.

Belfast Telegraph



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