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Greens 'quite relieved' as start of rugby season is delayed

By Gordon Calder

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Caithness RFC's head coach Ewen Boyd. Picture: James Gunn
Caithness RFC's head coach Ewen Boyd. Picture: James Gunn

CAITHNESS head coach Ewen Boyd has mixed feelings about the decision to delay the start of the rugby season until the new year.

Fixtures were due to return on Saturday, October 31, but with the increase in coronavirus cases the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) has decided there should be no competitive games until January 2021 at the earliest.

Boyd said: "We want to get back to playing as soon as we can, for the club and the players, but we also have a duty to ourselves, our families and community to keep safe.

"The move by the SRU has taken the decision out of our hands so we are quite relieved in a way. We want to get back to competitive rugby as quickly as we can, but we want to do so safely."

However, he would like to see the return of some form of rugby and is "exploring options and how we can do that".

The SRU decision will have an impact on the club's competitive fixtures over the next three months but may help its budget. "We will not have to travel to games and will not have that outgoing and huge commitment, so we should be okay financially for this year," Boyd added.

The announcement by rugby bosses was made due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in Scotland.

Over a dozen rugby clubs across Scotland have reported positive cases in recent weeks, resulting in facilities being temporarily closed and deep-cleaned, training sessions being postponed and public health guidance on self-isolation being followed by those affected.

Scottish Rugby president Ian Barr said: "After much careful consideration, and following a detailed briefing by colleagues in rugby development, our chief medical officer and the updates from Scottish Rugby’s threat management group, we took the difficult decision to recommend delaying the start of competitive rugby until January 2021, which the board then fully supported."

He added: "We know many clubs and schools were preparing well and looking forward to resuming competitive matches, often against their local rivals due to the proposed regional fixtures, but we must put the safety of our players, volunteers and their local communities first.

"With Covid numbers rising nationally we must act responsibly in the communities where our clubs and schools play, and secondly this delay gives us all time to take stock and contribute to helping lower the infection rates, which can hopefully enable us to return to rugby fully at the right time.”

The Greens avoided relegation from National League 3 after it was decided the 2019/20 campaign should be declared null and void because of the difficulties caused by coronavirus.

The decision was made by the SRU after the season had been curtailed early due to the pandemic. It looked at a number of options, including which teams should be promoted or relegated, but made its move after consulting the clubs. It meant there was no automatic promotion/relegation from any division in Scotland.

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