Aberdeen Grammar chairman and director of rugby Gordon Thomson believes the SRU has made the right call in cancelling the 2020-21 club rugby season.
SRU president Ian Barr made the announcement today in the wake of the growing number of Covid-19 cases across Scotland which has led to 20 local authority areas in the country living in levels three or four of the national five-tier lockdown system.
Barr said: “We know many clubs and schools were looking forward to resuming competitive matches in the new year, but Covid-19 remains an active threat and we must act responsibly, putting the safety of our players, volunteers and their local communities first.
“We understand the decision will be disappointing, however it is important that we make the right choices to contribute to helping lower the infection rates and support public health guidelines, which can hopefully enable us to return to rugby fully at the right time.”
Grammar chairman Thomson fully supports the decision to call time on the campaign and believes it has been clear for some time that the prospects of play this season have been diminishing with each passing week.
He said: “It’s the right thing to do and there is no point in clubs training three times a week and telling players to prepare for the season starting in January when it has been quite clear to anyone watching the news conferences in recent weeks that the Covid-19 situation is worsening as we get nearer January.
“There are costs involved too. There is a monetary one for clubs have video analysts, doctors and coaches who are paid to be at training and then there is the health risk of infecting people when squads are together in large numbers as is the case for training sessions.
“I fully support the decision taken by Ian Barr at Scottish Rugby and I was part of the process in helping him reach that decision. It has been clear with each passing week that there was no other option.
“We could have had a scenario where players were training right through until March without playing a game and this decision allows us to draw a line on this season and hopefully we can all start afresh next summer.”
Despite the cancellation of the revised competitive league programme, Scottish Rugby aims to facilitate local friendly fixtures in the months ahead when it is safe to do so.
Super6 teams will also continue to work towards the possibility of delivering a full programme of fixtures, with the aim of starting at the end of March 2021, should government guidelines allow.
Highland coach Davie Carson says his club has been braced for the news for weeks but believes there are positives to be found from the extended training sessions.
He said: “It is no surprise and I’m just glad the decision has been made sooner rather than later. The restrictions some clubs are facing due to the tiers they are in and the travel issues involved means this has had to be done.
“We’ve been training twice a week as the players wanted to keep it going for both their physical health and the social aspect, and the touch rugby sessions has really allowed us to upskill the guys in the second and third teams.
“We’ll have a chat with the group tomorrow at training and see if they want mix things up but I expect they will want to keep it going.
“Hopefully this break will give clubs from the north to the north-east a chance to push sevens rugby again.
“I’m pretty confident we could host some tournaments in our patch come April, May and June and I’m sure a lot of players would welcome the chance to play some competitive rugby as it will be a long wait to next August otherwise.”