CHRIS FOY: If Wasps are unable to play in the Premiership final, hand Exeter the title… English rugby’s ultimate prize shouldn’t be decider of the best-ranked team to have avoided Covid!
- Wasps are in danger of not playing Premiership final after several Covid cases
- There are suggestions losing semi-finalists Bristol will take their place vs Exeter
- To merit league’s credibility, Exeter should be awarded the title if Wasps pull out
If Wasps are unable to play in the Premiership final, Exeter should be awarded the title on merit to save the league’s credibility.
The contest for English club rugby’s ultimate prize is in danger of being turned into a farce. It should not be reduced to a decider between the highest-ranking teams to have successfully dodged Covid.
Wasps have earned the right to take part in the Twickenham showpiece and for them to be denied a fair shot at the title on medical grounds would be cruel — just as it was on Sale, who missed out on the play-offs due to their Covid outbreak.
Wasps are in danger of not being able to play the Premiership final after several Covid cases
Lee Blackett has overseen a remarkable transformation in Wasps, who have played glorious rugby to finish second in the table.
But contingency planning is now in full swing and it isn’t making a good impression. Any gauge of public opinion would conclude that bringing Bristol in as replacements for Wasps would not be popular. It is a contrived solution when a simple one presents itself.
Exeter finished top of the table as the dominant force in the land, so let them take the trophy if Wasps can’t contest it. Sale had to forfeit their game against Worcester, so why are the regulations different in this case? Premiership Rugby are desperate to stage a final to appease the broadcasters.
If Wasps can’t play final, the title should go to Exeter instead of another team replacing them
But what if Bristol are hit by an outbreak too? Summon Bath, who finished fourth? What if Bristol do play and they beat Exeter? That would be the hollowest of league triumphs. This situation is a major threat to the Premiership’s credibility and exposes the inherent unfairness of the whole play-off system.
If Wasps can’t play, Exeter deserve to be declared champions. Then let the league become a true league again, with the winner being the best-performing club over the whole season.