Pro14: Difficult to see this season's competition resume - Stephen Ferris

Ferris calls for Pro 14 to be cancelled

Former Ireland international Stephen Ferris says that he does not see this season's Pro14 reaching a conclusion with the competition currently in limbo due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Having been suspended on 12 March, the league was indefinitely postponed on Friday with June's final cancelled.

The resumption of the season will now only take place if four strict criteria points are met.

"At the end of the day, it's people health," said ex-Ulster flanker Ferris.

"Everybody can do without rugby for a number of months and if that means cancelling the Pro14 then that's what they should do."

The 2019-20 final was set to take place at Cardiff City Stadium, however new plans introduced on Friday dictated that if the competition is to resume, then the final will be hosted by the team with the best league record.

As it stands, defending champions Leinster have comfortably the best record in the competition with 61 points, while Conference B leaders Edinburgh are currently next best on 47.

With no indication as to when play will resume, players across the league are unable to train as they follow social distancing advice.

"Some of the Ulster boys are doing a lot of home workouts but you're not going to get the same intensity into those workouts as you are in that team environment and in the gym," said Ferris.

"First of all they don't have the same facilities in their house, they're not getting the other lads pushing them on or the coaching.

"When they do come back together it will be interesting to see if it all works out.

"I think the players will be exactly like myself and everyone else, it's not about them or rugby, it's about everyone."

Ulster Cheetahs
Ulster have not played since their home win over Cheetahs on 22 February

The pandemic has seen sport grind to a halt across the world, with very few competitions capable of safely proceeding in the current situation.

With April's European Champions Cup quarter-finals postponed, the board of the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) stated that they remain committed to completing the competition when it is safe and feasible to do so.

However, with no timetable of resumption it is feared that domestic rugby clubs will suffer the most from a period of prolonged inactivity.

"I just hope that rugby clubs aren't on their knees in a couple of months time," Ferris continued.

"We all know that rugby is going to be back at some stage, it just really depends how long.

"Rugby clubs close to me rely so much on people coming through the door and buying a pint of beer or a match programme, and they just hope that sponsors stick around."

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