SCOTLAND WOMEN’S Six Nations warm-up match against Spain at Scotstoun Stadium was called off at the last moment this afternoon [Sunday] due to safety concerns after a heavy snowfall blanketed the pitch during the hours leading up to kick-off.
A Scottish Rugby spokesman explained that the decision had been left to the very last minute – the public announcement was made one minute after the scheduled 1pm kick-off time – because of the strong desire of both teams to get the game played, but ultimately player and spectator safety considerations meant that a cancellation was the only responsible options.
By kick-off time, the playing surface was hidden beneath several inches of snow and it was impossible to discern the pitch markings. Attempts to clear the lines were futile as the ongoing snowfall quickly re-covered any cleared areas.
“This isn’t going anywhere now, this is here for the next three to four hours, so we are not just worried about now, we are also worried about people getting home safely in two hours’ time,” explained the spokesman.
Spectators who walked up on the day were able to claim a refund from the ticket office on the way home, while the Scottish Rugby Union promised to contact those who had bought their tickets in advance to arrange a refund or exchange.
Scotland head coach Shade Munro agreed that the call-off is a set-back to his team’s preparations for the Six Nations, but added that the opportunity to bring the squad together to prepare for the match had been a useful exercise.
“It was pretty close [to going ahead] but it was obvious that we had got to the point where neither team was going to get anything from it,” he said. “They were mentally well switched on for it and we were reducing it down to: we’re not going to be able to play any wide rugby so it is about physicality and aggression and that kind of stuff. And then it got to the stage where they couldn’t catch the ball and their feet were slipping even with long studs on.”
“The referee was right when he got us all to meet and we all knew there was no point.”
“It is frustrating because preparation for the Six Nations is what it’s all about, but we’ve actually trained pretty well in the build-up to this so there is still that – we’ve still got them together and had a good training camp so we’re not too disappointed.”
The home-based players in the squad will have a session together next week but the whole group will not reconvene until the following week, ahead of their Six Nations curtain opener against Wales at Colwyn Bay on 2nd February.