Townsend still expecting Wales v Scotland to go ahead

The Scotland head coach said he would be surprised to see the Six Nations match cancelled at short notice.

Townsend still expecting Wales v Scotland to go ahead SNS Group

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend is not expecting a late call-off of his team’s final Six Nations match this weekend.

Wales host Townsend’s Dark Blues in Cardiff on Saturday afternoon – the only match of the traditional ‘Super Saturday’ going ahead in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

As confirmed cases of the virus continue to rise across the UK it is anticipated that sporting events will have to be held without fans or be cancelled altogether to slow the spread.

As far as Townsend was aware on Thursday afternoon, the match was still going ahead.

He said: “We’ve followed all procedures and protocols regarding contact and washing hands.

“We saw last weekend [against France] what a fantastic spectacle it was and how great the Six Nations is and we hope that we get to play this weekend.

“We understand if that’s not the case it is for serious reasons.

“I do understand that things move fast but we are two days away so it would be a surprise if it was called off this late.”

Townsend, who named three changes to his starting line-up to face Wales, agreed that sport would become secondary to public health if and when such a decision to limit public gatherings was made.

There are currently 590 confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK.

The Scotland head coach said: “[Sport will be secondary] once those decisions are made. I think everybody involved in sport will know if it is time to either not play the game or play behind closed doors.

“Up until then, as a coach and as players, you have to prepare to play a massive game at the weekend.”

Asked if the players had concerns over their health in going ahead with matches, Townsend said: “Not at all, we have been getting updates pretty regularly on the situation.

“We played in Italy before the outbreak really set hold and games started getting called off there.

“Since then it has been the build-up to the France game and what we as an organisation had to do to put on that game.

“I’m sure the same is happening in Wales just now and we will wait and see if that changes in the next two days.”

On the suggestion of playing the match but without supporters present in the 74,500 capacity Principality Stadium, Townsend added: “I think my opinion is irrelevant on that. It is whether the organisers decide that is the way to go.

“We will just prepare as if we are playing in front of a full house, in a very difficult venue – an iconic venue to play a game of rugby.”

While the Six Nations match is going ahead, the Pro14 season has been suspended until further notice.

David Jordan, Tournament Director PRO14 Rugby, said: We have made this decision with player welfare and supporter safety foremost in our minds.

“It is clear that everyone across society has a role to play in supporting the actions of governments in order help curb this outbreak and sport must play a key role in that.”

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