THE 2020-21 PRO14 programme has finally ended, with the tournament organisers announcing that the one outstanding fixture will not be played. Instead, Edinburgh have been awarded four match points for the game against Benetton, which was postponed after a positive Covid test in the Italian squad.
The result is immaterial as far as the league table is concerned, with Richard Cockerill’s side finishing fifth in Conference B, while Benetton are sixth and last. In a statement announcing the decision, PRO14 said it had been generally felt there was no need to play the match.
“PRO14 Rugby can confirm that the postponed Round 14 Edinburgh versus Benetton Rugby fixture will not be rescheduled and that Edinburgh will receive four match points,” the statement read. “As the only outstanding fixture from the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 campaign, the tournament’s Sports & Regulatory Committee considered that the result of playing the game would not make any material difference to either team’s final standing in Conference B.
“The fixture was originally postponed by the PRO14 Medical Advisory Group due to the reporting of a positive Covid-19 case in the Benetton squad.
“Having consulted with all stakeholders involved, there was unanimous agreement that it was not necessary for the game to be played. As a result, PRO14 Rugby will use the protocol decided prior to the 2020/21 season whereby a game that could not be rescheduled would result in the fixture being deemed a 0-0 draw, but four match points would be awarded to the team who had not been the cause of the postponement.
“This protocol ensures that no artificial scoring points were added to the tries/points for and against columns. As a result, Edinburgh rugby’s match points total for the campaign will read as 29.”
David Jordan, the tournament director, added: “We are very grateful to the understanding of the clubs and broadcasters involved that we could find broad agreement not to reschedule this game. The result of the fixture would have had no impact on the clubs’ final rankings and, in what has been a very strenuous calendar four our teams, coaches, players and match officials, it is positive that we can provide some rest ahead of the Rainbow Cup.
“To have played 96 fixtures from a total of 97 at this point in the calendar is a great shared achievement by our clubs, their staff and our Medical Advisory Group. Awarding points to a team and declaring the result of a fixture is never an ideal proposition and to have to only do this once in a situation that will have no material effect on the teams involved is tolerable.”