THE cross-border competition between Scotland’s Super6 teams and Wales’ leading club sides has been called off as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Matches had been due to begin next month, but, with the Super6 play-offs yet to go ahead and no sign of when rugby will resume, postponement had become inevitable.
The cross-border competition was seen as an important and integral part of this inaugural Super6 season when it was launched late last year. Playing Welsh teams would have given coaches a chance to gauge their squads’ progress against external opposition, as well as providing much-needed additional fixtures for a competition in which each team only plays ten games in its regular season.
Senior figures at the Scottish clubs involved had spoken enthusiastically about the opportunity to play against Welsh opposition, which they ere confident would both help raise standards and boost the profile of the new competition. So this news – although not unexpected – will come as a major disappointment to the Super6 team, but they will all recognise that their plight is of marginal significance given the scale and complexity of the overall situation.
“It’s obviously disappointing as the players were really looking forwards to what was going to be a great experience, however, given the circumstances we are fully supportive of the cancellation,” said Heriot’s director of rugby Neil Meikle. “There are a lot of people who will be facing far bigger challenges than a few rugby games being cancelled and it is great to see the rugby community offering help to those who need it.”
News that the matches had been cancelled emerged in a statement issued by the Welsh Rugby Union this afternoon, in which it followed in he footsteps of their Irish and English counterparts during the last 24 hours in cancelling the 2019-20 season for all WRU competitions.
“This decision, informed by a comprehensive review of all league and cup competitions, was taken at a Board meeting held on Friday March 20th,” said the statement. “For clarity this decision applies to all WRU cup and league competitions currently underway as well as the cross-border competition between Welsh and Scottish clubs due to kick off in April.”
There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the WRU leagues and teams will remain in the league they are currently in.
“We are well aware of the colossal amount of effort that goes into our game, on and off the field, across Wales,” said WRU CEO Martyn Phillips. “We did not take this decision lightly. It is not intended to in any way diminish the games that have already taken place or the efforts of everyone involved.
“We were particularly aware of the impact on clubs with the potential to be promoted or win competitions, but in the end we have had to make the decision to ensure we play our part in safeguarding Welsh communities.
“We know clubs will be disappointed but also hope they will be understanding, given the circumstances. We know that rugby clubs are facing extraordinary challenges at the moment. We will continue to look at all options to ensure the game in Wales emerges from this period and continues to play the vital role in Welsh life that it has for the last 140 years.”