Declan Kidney hits out at critics of Premiership covid cancellations

Declan Kidney believes it is “inappropriate” for teams to criticise the Gallagher Premiership’s rules regarding cancelling matches due to coronavirus cases.

London Irish have already had two Premiership matches cancelled so far this season and were awarded two points on each occasion.

Had the Premiership been using similar rules to the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, the Exiles would have been awarded no points, as they were the team with positive coronavirus cases.

While the Premiership’s system could be seen as potentially benefiting teams who have forfeited matches, Kidney believes it is a fairer system than the one being used in European competitions.

“If you look at the European system it’s a 28-0, five points to nil in a four-round league. That is quite harsh. What is happening in the league here it has pulled everybody together.

“With a game being off this weekend as well [Northampton vs Leicester] it has different effects for different clubs. I have seen some of the comments and I have also been in touch with some of the people who have had Covid.

“I don’t think it is really appropriate when people are quite ill with a virus to be deflating a system that was agreed on by the powers that be [the clubs] before the season started.

“Everybody knew what they were getting in to. I can complain about it but I don’t think that is the right thing to do,” Kidney told RugbyPass.

‘We were frustrated not being able to play last week’

While the former Munster and Ireland head coach admitted that the numerous cancellations could have a significant effect on the Premiership table, he felt that the integrity of the competition is not the priority at the moment.

“It has hit other clubs in the past. You are hoping it won’t hit other clubs in the future. Will it balance out by the end of the year? Who is to know.

“The main thing is to get rid of it from a health and human point of view. From a rugby point of view, it could have an effect but it is actually wrong to be commenting on it from a purely rugby point of view. 

“It’s swings and roundabouts in life and it’s how we react to that too rather than sitting around complaining about it.

“All I do know is we were highly frustrated in not being able to play last week (against Northampton) when we were good to go but we had a civic duty as much as a duty to our supporters and everything else which was why the call was made the way it was,” Kidney commented.

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