It’s too early in the season to award Leinster the PRO14 title says the Scottish Rugby Union Performance Director, Jim Mallinder.
Leo Cullen’s side are unbeaten so far this season and lead the way on 61 points in Conference A of the competition. However, the remaining games in the PRO14 were canceled in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the season suspended indefinitely.
Earlier this week, outgoing Glasgow Warriors head coach Dave Rennie suggested that the season be scrapped and Leinster awarded the title.
However, the Scottish Rugby Union have moved to distance themselves from Rennie’s comments with Edinburgh currently topping the table in Conference B, two points ahead of Munster.
“From an SRU point of view we wouldn’t agree with that and I guess that PRO14 would probably have something to say, and I guess Richard Cockerill (Edinburgh head coach) would have something to say about it as well,” Mallinder said in quotes published by the Telegraph.
“I don’t think we’ve played enough matches to give the title to Leinster. Clearly they’ve had an outstanding start, and it’s been brilliant for them to go unbeaten, but there are some other sides who are playing well.
“What we’ve said at the moment is that there’s the season, then the play-offs, then the final, and that it’s the winner of that who should get it. That’s why I don’t agree that Leinster should be given it.”
Mallinder revealed that the PRO14 are set to meet next week to plan different scenarios for the return of rugby and insisted that player welfare will be high on their list of priorities.
“We have to make sure that whatever we have in terms of season structure is right for the businesses and the players, but it’s a very difficult one.
“We know there is probably not going to be any rugby at least before June and we know then at the right time there will be a phased return to rugby in terms of individual training.
“We are already now looking at individual, then coming into training facilities to build that up to smaller groups, and getting full contact.
“We’re looking at this from small groups all the way through to playing a game, initially behind closed doors, and then, ultimately – which we know will be quite a time away – coming back to playing, hopefully, in front of full stadiums.
“It is a difficult one and we know that in terms of the PRO14 next week they’ve got a review in terms of the scenario planning, with lots of scenarios to put in place.
“They are taking advice from all the unions, and the medical side, so we’re still very open-minded PRO14 wise about restarting or restructuring, whatever that might be, but at the moment no decision has been taken as yet.”