Top 14 – Covid epidemic, game postponements turn into a puzzle

Two new matches counting for the 22nd day of the Top 14, Brive-La Rochelle and Bayonne-Castres will be postponed this weekend. A third poster, UBB-Montpellier is strongly threatened, just like Toulon-Agen. After the four games postponed from last weekend, the consequences could be disastrous, whether in the fight for the finals, or for maintenance. Explanations.

Do you remember the last time you saw CA Brive play on Top 14 terrain? In the game of competition calendars, it was March 27, against Agen (57-3). Since then, the Corrèze club has been dealing with cases of Covid-19 within its workforce. Eight new today! And his match against La Rochelle scheduled for Saturday will logically be postponed. At best, we will therefore find the Brivists on May 1, in Clermont (21st day late) or May 8 at the Stade Français (23rd day). More than a month without playing! But imagine that this case is perhaps not the most worrying case.

The meeting scheduled for this Friday between the Union Bordeaux-Bègles and Montpellier could suffer the same fate, the Bordelais having again detected three new cases in their ranks this morning, which follow the two of last week and two more this weekend. . The National Rugby League has chosen for the moment to postpone this match to Sunday (5 p.m.). But this decision is suspended on the results of the next tests of the Girondins players, which will take place Thursday. If cases are still confirmed, there will be postponement. However, these two teams already have a game behind (Agen-UBB and Montpellier-Toulon) and have, to date, only one weekend available in the calendar (May 22).

No match for UBB between quarter and a half of the European Cup

And even! This date is virtual, since it is dedicated to the European Cup finals, competitions in which Bordeaux and Montpellier residents are still involved. If the UBB wins its Champions Cup semi-final in Toulouse (May 1) and if the MHR does the same in Bath in the Challenge Cup (May 1), the vacant date to play a late match would eventually be occupied. Do you see where we are coming from? A real headache. It could therefore be that these two clubs, which fight one for the qualification for the finals (the UBB is 4th) and the other for the maintenance (Montpellier is 11th) have at least one, if not two Top 14 matches to be played during the week (!) by the end of the regular phase, the 26th and final day being scheduled for June 5.

What consequences then for the fairness of the championship? Not to mention currently the catastrophic preparation of the Gironde club for the semi-final of the European Cup at the Stade Toulousain which takes place in eleven days. Christophe Urios’ players will not have played since their qualification acquired in the quarter-finals against Racing 92 and have been training in small groups since… For their part, with the postponement of the match in Brive, La Rochelle will therefore benefit from a weekend of rest before facing Leinster in the Champions Cup semi-final. If they had the misfortune of being eliminated, the Rochelais would therefore have a weekend (May 22) to make up for their late match. But if they qualify for the final, the problem will be the same, they will also have to consider this meeting during the week.

Meetings already planned for Tuesday, May 11

There remains RC Toulon. Eliminated on the green carpet of the European Cup with the controversy that we know (decision of the EPCR, the European body), the Toulonnais also have at least one postponed match to squeeze in: in Montpellier but perhaps a another against Agen, which must take place this Saturday but which is also threatened. In case of postponement, it should take place at the time of the European Cup dates. Moreover, just in case and obliged, the League has already anticipated the qualification of several clubs in the European Cup.

If La Rochelle, UBB and Montpellier passed the semifinals, the Agen-UBB, Brive-La Rochelle and Montpellier-Toulon matches are already scheduled for Tuesday, May 11. Finally, the match between Aviron Bayonnais and Castres Olympique this weekend will not be played as well. Tests revealed two cases of Covid in the Tarn ranks earlier this week. But there, no problem on the other hand for the rescheduling of the meeting between these two teams on the dates of the European Cup. By adding, to conclude, that the postponed match between Racing 92 and Stade Français is stalled for Saturday, May 1. You will understand, the Top 14 has entered turbulence for several days and its actors are crossing their fingers so that the end of the season is not threatened …

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