WARRIORS derby date with Gloucester under the Kingsholm lights tonight has been axed at the eleventh hour with the Sixways side left with just 18 fit players.
COVID-19 cases, illness and injuries mean, despite every attempt to fulfil the fixture, Warriors are unable to name a team with sufficient front row forwards to comply with the competition regulations.
A staggering 36 players are now unavailable due to injury, illness or COVID-19, leaving Warriors with only 18 fully fit players, of whom just three are prop forwards.
When the side to face Gloucester was announced yesterday (Thursday) the club named the only four fit props in the club at that stage. The availability of Murray McCallum, who was named as replacement tighthead, was subject to him passing a fitness test on Friday morning.
Unfortunately, Murray failed that fitness test.
Gloucester and Premiership Rugby have now been notified the club no longer have sufficient fit and available front row forwards to allow tonight’s match to proceed safely.
“We apologise to Gloucester, supporters of both clubs and BT Sport for the inconvenience this will inevitably cause but exceptional circumstances have conspired against us,” a spokesperson said.
An independent Panel will now be convened to decide the points allocation and that decision will be communicated in due course
Premiership Rugby has already confirmed the match will not be rescheduled.
• The playing regulations for Gallagher Premiership matches state that:
In the interests of safety each team playing in the Premiership must have at least six fit and able players in the squad who can play at hooker, tighthead prop and loosehead prop who are suitably trained and experienced to ensure that on the first occasion that a replacement in any front row position is required (whether due to injury or consequent to a player(s) being temporarily suspended or ordered off) the team can continue to play safely with contested scrums.
In the event that a club is unable to field those six players, the match shall be cancelled.