CORONAVIRUS SPORTS NEWS: All league rugby below Premiership ended by RFU

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Action from Stratford's win over Leamington from earlier in the season. Photo: Mark Williamson R15/2/20/9276

RUGBY UNION

THE RFU have today, Friday, announced that they have cancelled the 2019/20 season at all levels of the game apart from the Gallagher Premiership.

The move comes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision affects all league, cup and county rugby.

With the campaign brought to a premature end, RFU CEO Bill Sweeney said the sporting body has “instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game”.

The outcome of such instigation will be communicated in mid-April.

A full statement from Sweeney said: “My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU are with everyone impacted by COVID-19 as well as recent flooding events, both across the country at large but also within our own rugby union community.

“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.”

This news means Stratford RFC have ended the cut-short season top of Midlands Two West (South) while close rivals Southam are rock-bottom with just seven points from 18 games.

Shipston-on-Stour RFC will end their debut Southern Counties North campaign in fourth while Alcester RFC have finished tenth in Midlands Three West (South).

In Midlands Four West (South), Claverdon have ended the campaign in eighth, with Harbury a place behind in ninth