Sunday, 31 May 2020

Rugby season brought to an early end by coronavirus

HENLEY and Abbey Rugby Clubs have both had their seasons brought to an early conclusion due to the ongoing covid-19 outbreak.

Originally all fixtures had been postponed until mid-April but on Friday of last week the RFU took the decision to call an end to all rugby union league and cup competitions below the top division in the country.

Speaking after announcing the news last week, the chief executive officer of the RFU, Bill Sweeney, said: “In order to provide clarity and to assist with immediate and longer term planning, the Rugby Football Union is announcing the end of the 2019/20 rugby season for all league, cup and county rugby in England. The only exception to this is the Gallagher Premiership, who we are in active discussions with to review possible best next steps.

“When current government advice on social distancing measures changes, we will naturally encourage rugby training and friendlies to recommence.

“I would like to personally thank everyone for their swift actions in suspending rugby activity, this is not an easy time and I know many of you will have concerns that go beyond the game.

“We are working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game. We will communicate these outcomes by the middle of April. While we would like to provide all the answers now, we need some time to get it right for the best interests of the game. Rest assured we are working on this as a priority and we will continue to send weekly updates to clubs.

“Our welfare advice before the start of next season will switch to offering guidance on how players at all levels can reboot and get match ready.

“The RFU will work closely with constituent bodies to support clubs, competition organisers and the wider rugby community in preparing to re-start rugby in what is likely to be a challenging environment.”

When all play was brought to a halt Henley Hawks were fourth in National Division 2 South with five matches remaining, just six points behind first placed Taunton Titans and three points behind play-off second placed hopefuls Tonbridge Juddians.

Henley Hawks Women’s side had already completed their Championship South Division 1 fixtures where they narrowly avoided relegation. The Dry Leas side, current Intermediate Plate holders, had started this season’s cup campaign with two wins from two matches when the competition came to a halt.

At Rosehill Abbey were third from bottom in South West League Wadworth 6X Southern Counties North while their women’s side, Abbey Nuns, had completed their Championship South West Division 2 campaign where they won all their 14 matches to be crowned champions.

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