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Aberdeen Grammar considered ‘wider picture’ before Musselburgh call-off

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O'Connor.
Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O'Connor.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor said they had to consider the “wider picture” in calling off this weekend’s game with Musselburgh.

The majority of games in the Tennent’s Premiership have been called off due to the rise in Covid cases across Scotland, with only one still standing as of Thursday evening.

Grammar have cases within their own squad, while players travelling from Musselburgh and hospitality had to be factored into the decision.

It means as it stands their next game will be away to Hawick on January 15. The last fixture weekend in the Premiership is scheduled for February 19 anyway, leaving ample room to fit in any postponed fixtures after that date.

O’Connor said: “It was a combination of factors. We have six players with Covid just now and I think Musselburgh are in a similar position.

“It’s not just the game, there’s the travel with Musselburgh having to come up, on buses in confined spaces.

“There’s also hospitality and spectators and trying to keep that as safe as possible. You’ve got to see the wider picture.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O'Connor
Aberdeen Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor

“I imagine all the teams will be quite keen to get a bit of training done as well as it feels like it’s been a while since we played. You know what it can be like if you’re undercooked.

“A lot of our guys haven’t come back to Aberdeen yet, so it’s not as if there’s any spread within the team. It’s six isolated incidents that have taken place out of the rugby context.

“We got a bit of fitness work done on Thursday night with reduced numbers and we’ll see what numbers are like and how people’s bodies are before we make any decision on Saturday.”

Fellow north clubs Gordonians and Highland also opted to postpone their fixtures on safety grounds too.

O’Connor does not think league integrity comes into the equation when making such a decision, as they have been without a significant number of players all season.

He added: “We’ve had a lot of that all season with injuries, so we’re used to not being at full-strength. That kind of thing didn’t really come into the discussion – it was purely a safety thing.

“When you look at the personnel I think we still would have been OK. But I think it was pretty unanimous across the country to cancel the games this weekend, as it’s maybe one step too soon.”

O’Connor is hopeful of having Greig Ryan and Calum Reddish back available when play resumes, with Super 6 franchise players Cammy Scott and George Breese returning to their parent clubs.

He added: “We don’t have many high-profile injuries left hanging over us. Matthew Emmison will hopefully be coming back before the end of the season, so it’s looking a bit more positive.

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