Six Nations planning for matches to be played ‘behind-closed-doors’
The Six Nations is planning for matches to be played behind closed doors, with no option for postponements, it has been reported.
According to The Telegraph, the international rugby tournament is making the contingency plans for some games, amid a surge in cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
All the nations fielding teams in the tournament except England currently have crowd restrictions in place.
The Six Nation’s organisers are holding a series of calls with rugby unions and national governments today in a bid to try to determine what the likelihood is of restrictions easing before February 5 when the tournament kicks off.
All spectators are banned from attending sporting matches in Wales under current Welsh Government regulations. In Scotland, a maximum of 500 people are allowed at outdoor sports events.
Crowds are capped at 5,000 Ireland and France. There are no restrictions on attendances at sporting matches in England barring proof of vaccination status or a negative lateral-flow test.
It is understood that that it is very unlikely that any fixtures would be delayed to allow full houses to return.
This is because there is so little space in the rugby calendar. Therefore, the contingency plan is likely to follow the template which was laid out for the Autumn Nations Series. This involved staging the matches behind closed doors. The possibility of moving matches to England has not been discounted by organisers.
Wales fly-half Dan Biggar has said it would be “a huge, huge step backwards” for rugby if the Six Nations had to be played behind closed doors.
“I hope for an event like the Six Nations and for the game up and down the UK moving forward we get some sort of sensible outcome,” he added.
“As long as everyone is safe and double-jabbed then I think it makes sense to keep crowds in. We played a lot of games afterwards with no crowds but if you look at the first handful of games they almost felt like training games.”
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I tend to agree with Biggar that fully vaccinated crowds might be the answer but experience in the football premiership suggests that games are more at risk from teams having large numbers of players in isolation.
With injuries and Covid, Ospreys had 22 players unavailable for their last game. If the smaller national squads get hit that hard they won’t have 23 players left available.
As a lover of Rugby, find this news depressing. Wales fans besides tolerating Covid over the past two years or so , have also suffered the recent Amazon TV pay-per-view of games once televised adding further to their misery.
Surely the WRU & Six Nation organisers could allow the triple vaccinated fans with proof. require them to wear face masks, have sanitation points and restrict the sale of alcohol so crowds can attend, rather than play in an empty stadium without atmosphere?
The booster rollout should be as good as complete by the end of January in all of the 6 nations involved. It really would be disappointing if we’re still having strict restrictions on crowds at that point.
If they can’t go back to normal then, I’m wondering when they ever will?
Can you imagine on our TV, seeing an empty stadium at the Millennium or Murrayfield, whilst seeing a packed atmosphere at Twickenham? Wouldn’t that give England an advantage? Politically it could boost the Tories (not that I am saying that they would deserve it) or even worse the anti-devolutionists. As long as everyone who attends carries a Covid Pass then there shouldn’t be a problem. Its not just rugby, consider the World Cup qualifiers in March. Wales earned the right to get home advantage for the playoffs, and its not that often we get a genuine chance to qualify for… Read more »
You are correct Rob. Johnson will undoubtedly milk a Twickers full house, whilst Drakeford will be correctly ridiculed if the Principality Stadium is empty, or, heaven forbid, Wales play their matches at Spurs ground or elsewhere east of Offa’s. If Welsh Government is still adopting a hard-line by March, and the World Cup qualifiers are played away from Cardiff then I’d certainly see that as a resigning issue for the First Minister.
Looks like they are going to play their matches in England- ( Spurs ground) Massive embarrassment for old Drakeford who needs to get real.
Drakeford could not give a damn about the rugby, or so many other aspects of our social lives. He is a distant bureaucrat, with little knowledge or understanding of human interaction or business needs. A classic otherworldly academic.
get an editor ffs terrible tranche of grammatical & spelling errors as usual in NC