At what level throughout a pandemic, with dying charges spiralling upwards, does taking part in skilled sport stop to be look? As the momentary morgues replenish and hospital employees discover themselves below ever extra intense strain, ought to we actually be involved about England’s choice choices towards Scotland in simply over three weeks? Talk a few parallel universe.
Hold that thought as we wait to study whether or not the Six Nations, because the organisers nonetheless insist, will kick off on 6 February as scheduled. At the very least it’ll contain a number of cross-border journeys over seven weeks by gamers, coaches, officers, employees, media and various sanitised bottle washers. No crowds will probably be permitted to attend, clearly, however meaning the championship is actually occurring purely for the broadcasting income. Is that ample cause to disregard the ambulance sirens and press on with European rugby’s annual travelling circus?
While the virus is hardly rugby’s fault, how lengthy can skilled sport stick with it regardless? Is it not blinkered, or worse, merely to masks up, sanitise the nook flags and blithely proceed? As one shrewd observer bluntly put it, debating the attainable postponement of the British & Irish Lions tour this summer time within the context of present occasions as “a bit like having a 10-course dinner party on the Titanic”. With greater than 80,000 Covid-related deaths up to now confirmed within the UK, the state of affairs in France and Italy additionally miserable and a tragic state of affairs unfolding in South Africa the place mass vaccination stays a distant dream, it’s a honest level.
So what subsequent? For now, at the least, the prevailing knowledge in Europe is that folks want one thing to divert them from the unfolding nightmares elsewhere. Many of essentially the most susceptible individuals within the UK are as a consequence of be vaccinated throughout the subsequent few weeks. Best, some insist, to maintain the present on the highway after which duck and dive within the occasion of additional Covid-19 points.