Opinion

Is it time to cancel Wales v Scotland?

12 Mar 2020 3 minutes Read
Picture by Malcolm Murdoch (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ifan Morgan Jones

As the Welsh rugby squad was announced this morning there was a strange feeling of unreality to the whole thing, as life seemed to continue as normal in this one instance where everywhere else it is grinding to a halt.

The Welsh Government will of course be acting on the advice of medical experts. Nevertheless, the contrast between Ireland announcing today that they are going to be shutting down schools, universities and even childcare providers and Wales not even cancelling a rugby match seems pretty stark.

The Scottish Government has also just announced that they’re banning gatherings of over only 500 people from Monday, which raises the question of whether the game would go ahead if it was being played in Edinburgh.

Italy postponed their own rugby matches back on 26 February when their outbreak was at a similar level of development as ours is now, as in hindsight that decision has been vindicated.

It leaves Wales v Scotland – a match to decide on fifth place in the tournament – as the only game in the Six Nations going ahead this weekend, after the Italy v England and Ireland v France matches to decide the winner of the tournament were both postponed.

 

Elderly

It is not so much 75,000 rugby fans gathering at the open-air national stadium that is worrying, but the number of fans who will be packed together on public transport and public houses before and after the match.

Perhaps not a single one of them will have coronavirus. But given that fans will travel to Cardiff from all over Wales and beyond it seems to be an event almost designed to ensure the efficient spread of the virus throughout the country.

The Welsh Government confirmed yesterday that at least one person who had tested positive for coronavirus had no known contact with anyone else with the virus.

That is confirmation that there are cases out there already that are yet to have been picked up on.

The coronavirus will of course not have a big health impact on everyone who catches it. It mostly impacts the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

The main danger seems to be that hospitals become overwhelmed with a high number of cases in a short period of time and can’t care for everyone.

Unfortunately, Wales does not seem best placed to weather such an eventuality. Yesterday an expert warned that Wales was “uniquely at risk” due to a shortage of critical care beds.

We also have an older population, with a higher % of our population than England and Scotland in the 60+ age bracket which has been hit hardest by the coronavirus so far.

Balance

It’s clear now that the coronavirus cannot be stopped – it can only be slowed down so that the NHS is not overwhelmed all at once.

The Welsh Government will be keen to ‘flatten the curve’ to avoid that happening, but not so much that the outbreak goes on indefinitely and into next winter when capacity will be even more scarce.

Getting that balance right between allowing the slow spread of the virus and letting it overwhelm the NHS won’t be easy.

However looking at the experience of other countries who are dealing with a higher number of cases, not going ahead with a gathering of 75,000 people in our nation’s capital looks like a prudent thing to do.

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Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 year ago

WRU has an incurable addiction to its revenue stream. Prospect of killing a few fans or at least accelerating the spread of a virus is a remote secondary consideration.

Roger
Roger
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

The possible death or at the least serious illness of elderly people like myself, is secondary to the importance of Rugby in Wales.

Huw J Davies
Huw J Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger

Roger, everything is secondary to the importance of rugby in Wales. That’s why you get news headlines like Ex rugby player’s Dog bites Postman. I exaggerate but not by a huge amount. The alternate would be ‘Nasty Postman Kicks ex Rugby Player’s Dog’

And yes I’m another Huw Davies but now add my middle initial to try to avoid confusion.

Of course, if you’ve ever played rugby you could be the ‘Ex Rugby Player dies of Covid-19’ headline!

Alastair Fleck
Alastair Fleck
1 year ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

We have tickets and are debating whether or not to attend the match. It’s the prospect of being crammed in over crowded trains for a couple of hours getting to and from the match that is causing the most concern, not being in the stadium itself. However, the revenue stream for the WRU is not really the issue. Most, if not all, of the tickets have been sold already and there are no refunds if the game is cancelled. All of the revenue will go straight to the WRU’s bottom line, without much of the associated costs.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago

The response of 6 nations organisers to this grave public health crisis has been nothing short of shambolic ie. doing everything they can to avoid doing the inevitable – cancelling this year’s tournament.

Rob
Rob
1 year ago

Couldn’t the Scottish Government intervene and call it off? The SRU do come under their jurisdiction

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 year ago

As Adam Price rightly says “the safety of citizens must be put before everything else” https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-51853674

Jenny Howell
Jenny Howell
1 year ago

You are absolutely right. I have a friend who works in a pub close to the stadium and she is dreading Saturday. It is keeping her awake at night. It should be cancelled whatever the WRU think.

Geraint Jones ???????

It’s definitely time to cancel the game. The Welsh Government is quite literally playing with people’s lives if it allows it to go ahead.

Penysgafn
Penysgafn
1 year ago

Not worth the risk. Much better to have a Super Saturday in the autumn

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago

You could be English you know. Because of our postcode we get served by Capita England and they spent all day on the phone telling her indoors she had to attend a PIP assessment in Hereford. Now that’s OK but her immune system is done and her own GP won’t let her into his waiting room. The last time she caught a cold she spent ten days in ICU in Nevill Hall. They are making no allowances for Covid and there will be dozens of victims losing their PIP or being infected and running the risk of death. These are… Read more »

Charles L. Gallagher
Charles L. Gallagher
1 year ago

Apart from the fact that Scotland v Wales be it at the Arms Park (it will always be the Arms Park to me) or Murrayfield is more of a pilgrimage and many Scottish fans will already be in Cardiff enjoying the legendary hospitality of the Welsh. As for the game, if it’s played, then the ‘roof’ should remain OPEN despite the weather.

Rob
Rob
1 year ago

Funny how the rugby is going ahead yet the Labour Leadership contest gets cancelled. The left wing of the Labour party will do anything to keep Corbyn as their leader.

Gisella A.
1 year ago

(sorry for the lentgh but hearing that a Rugby match is still set to go on tomorrow in Cardiff, more than 70.000 people from all over UK coming over and roaming around the city I really have to ask: why, why why, are you doing this? Since I’ve started learning Welsh, I’ve been reading of how much people there are proud of their Nation, want (and deserve, I think) more recognition and power to do what’s best for them instead of having decisions imposed from outside.And when you’ve got the chance to choose…you take high risks for the entire population… Read more »

Llyn
Llyn
1 year ago

The WRU will not cancel unless pushed. The reality is Welsh Rugby is reliant on international matches to fund the game in Wales and with only one home game in the autumn and one home game so far this year they need the game to go ahead.

If it doesn’t go ahead it won’t be long before the WRU starts to use emotional blackmail with the Welsh Gov to get taxpayers to bail them out of their financial problems.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
1 year ago
Reply to  Llyn

Masters of the hand wringing begging technique. The game is professional at the top level and should be able to stand on its own 2 feet by building up reserves.

The community game is a totally different “kettle of fish” and should, where necessary, be given some support to recover especially as it was also hit badly by the season’s floods, along with other community sports.

David
David
1 year ago

Football has been cancelled in England until at least April 4th. All golf tournaments worldwide have been postponed. The WRU administrators only believe in MONEY not the lives and well being of people living in Wales.

W lewis
W lewis
1 year ago

There is an answer – don’t go to the game. Just because it is not being cancelled, show them where it hurts, their tills.

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