In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night, five European Champions Cup games were called off. Toulouse were the only French side competing, away to Saracens. In Pool 5, Bath were scheduled to take on champions Toulon, but this was called off due to the events on Friday night. This decision was made by the French ministry of sport.
However, rescheduling the fixtures may not be so easy. Due to the Rugby World Cup, the Six Nations championship, and England’s summer tour of Australia, Bath have a packed roster in the coming weeks and months. This makes finding a date for the Toulon tie impossible, according to Bath chairman Bruce Craig, as reported by the Telegraph.
“It is very clear to me that the Toulon match can’t happen. The midweek option is not an option to my mind as that would to the detriment of player welfare as well as the integrity of two competitions, an important Champions Cup game being squeezed in with all the attendant travel issues between two Premiership weekends.
“There is no way we should be letting that happen. You can’t play three high-profile games in a week. In the wider context of what has happened in Paris, this is not a serious matter, of course it isn’t. And I do understand why the decision was taken. But from a rugby point of view, and from the point of view of the competition, this is an issue of significant consequence. There is no place to fit it in. It is a bit of a disaster in that regard.”
The other game in Pool 5 went ahead in Dublin yesterday, as Wasps shocked Leinster with a comprehensive away win. If Bath remain stubborn about the prospect of playing midweek, this could cause the tournament organisers a major headache.