It’s more excellent news that the Allianz Premier 15s can restart after a 2-round pause. Two catch-up games come this Saturday, then the rest from February 6 onwards.
An added bonus is that the revised schedule makes use of the weekends emptied by the delayed Six Nations programme. In this way the Prem 15s can serve as a proper build-up to the 6N. In the past the 6N has always meant a break in the league.
It also serves to help all the Celtic players involved, giving them more game-time to make up for the missing competitions in their native lands. By contrast a start-date for the 6N remains clouded in doubt as the six countries take their individual routes back towards normality.
The two fixtures for Saturday 30 January (kick-off 14.30):
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens
Gloucester-Hartpury v DMPDS
Chiefs’ home game will really show how far they have come. They currently lie fifth with a thoroughly creditable four wins out of nine. But now they come face to face with the big beasts. Their gravest handicap is the loss for five matches of their pivotal No 9 Patricia Garcia. One of Sarries’ biggest plusses is their ability to turn games that look like running against them. Alongside all the runaway victories they’ve enjoyed there are a few where the tables have turned in the last few minutes. How reminiscent of of our own dear Red Roses! But it is an invaluable asset.
We can only hope that DMP don’t suffer another disheartening loss. Theirs is the one disquieting story of the new-version Prems; but G-H are very likely to romp away to victory.
Congratulations too to the RFU for making the Sandy Park game available on livestream.