Pro14 Rugby today announced a suspension of the Guinness Pro14 competition with immediate effect. Their statement followed hot on the heels of this mornings announcement from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Part of the governmental order to control the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) has advised the cancellation of indoor gatherings of over 100 people and our gatherings of over 500 people.
One member country, Italy, is already in lockdown. Both Benetton Treviso and Zebre have has fixtures postponed. There home region in Northern Italy has been the European epi-centre for the Coronavirus. 4 fixtures have been postponed over the last few weekends. Today’s announcement from the Irish government somewhat forced the hand of the tournament organisers. The Pro14 is an international tournament made up of sides from Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. The cross-border travel dimension to the league adds an extra layer of risk in the spread of the Coronavirus amongst players, support teams and travelling fans.
David Jordan, Tournament director for PRO14 rugby said: “We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds.” He went on to say: “With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness Pro14 it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.”
No formal decision has been made yet in relation to resuming the remaining fixtures this season. This year’s Rugby calendar is already in turmoil after the cancellation of various Six Nations fixtures. The season was already extended due the Rugby World cup in Japan which ran from September 20th – November 2nd. The Pro14 season is set to have it’s finale in the Cardiff City Stadium Saturday 20th June.
One option could be that all postponed league games could be declared as 0-0 draws. As a result, both sides would be awarded 2 points. However, this is mere speculation at this point. We will update anxious rugby fans as soon as clarity is provided.