One of the Scotland fans in Cardiff for the game that never was, and never should have been, described the late call-off of the Wales v Scotland Six Nations match as “bonkers”.
The Welsh Rugby Union had insisted on Friday morning that the match would go ahead but in the afternoon they announced it was being postponed due to the escalating coronavirus crisis.
There will be no immediate refund for those who bought tickets, with the WRU insisting instead that the briefs would remain valid for the game when it is rescheduled.
“All tickets for the postponed Guinness Six Nations clash between Wales and Scotland this weekend will remain valid for the rescheduled fixture and so we strongly encourage all supporters to keep them in a safe place,” the WRU said in a statement.
“In the unlikely event that the fixture is not rescheduled all tickets will, of course, be refunded.
“Where the game is rescheduled but individuals still wish to seek reimbursement for any reason, full details of the process and method of this reimbursement will be clearly established at the time of the announcement of the new fixture.
“We fully appreciate that many supporters have been inconvenienced and we made every effort to stage the game but ultimately postponement became the only viable option. We will make further announcements about rescheduling as soon as possible.”
An SRU spokesman said it was a Welsh fixture and up to them to decide on any refunding scheme.
The loss of a major home Test match is sure to hit the WRU – which runs four professional teams compared to Scotland’s two – hard in the pocket.
Ultimately, though, sport is and always will be secondary to matters of public safety – and UK deaths from the Covid-19 virus doubled overnight to 21 and 23 new cases were diagnosed in Wales.
The question for most people was why it had taken so long for authorities and tournament chiefs to postpone the game, after the two other fixtures scheduled for what should have been the closing day of the championship – Italy v England and France v Ireland – had been scrapped earlier in the week.
The final matches are now likely to be rescheduled for 31 October, if the virus outbreak can be dealt with, leaving the postponed Ireland v Italy match to be fitted in late in November, potentially.
Jamie Thomson was part of a 30-strong travelling party from Lanark RFC for the Wales trip.
“We were just pulling into Cardiff when we heard the game was off,” said the veteran back-row forward. “Which wasn’t a surprise with the way things were going but the game should have been pulled on the Wednesday at the latest to stop so many Scottish fans heading down.
“It seemed like it was the only sporting event still on in the world! Totally bonkers.
“So instead you had people piling into pubs all around Cardiff, which was probably a worse thing than having the game on. There’s not anger, we are in uncharted territory here, but it seems to have not been thought properly here.”
Thomson added: “This was my first trip to Cardiff for a long time, and one I thought we might actually win! We’ve been avoiding the pubs today, we’ve been for a spa instead.”