County Championship: Rugby Football Union cancels competition until 2022

Cornwall lift the Bill Beaumont Cup
Cornwall have won three of the last seven County Championship finals

The 2021 County Championship has been cancelled by the Rugby Football Union.

The tournament, which dates back to 1889, was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic this year and will not now return until 2022.

The only other times the championship has been cancelled has been during the two World Wars.

The decision comes as the RFU faces making 139 staff redundant across the country because of financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The County Championship features players with clubs in National League One and below - the third tier of English rugby - and the finals are played at Twickenham.

"The county game has taken a bit of a hit," Cornwall RFU chairman Dave Saunter told BBC Radio Cornwall.

"It affects us slightly financially, but more importantly it's denying the guys a chance to pull on a county shirt."

Cornwall are the reigning county champions, having beaten Cheshire at Twickenham in 2019, and have reached six of the last seven finals.

"Down here we don't have a Premiership side, so Cornwall are our flagship side," Saunter added.

"Our players from Redruth, Camborne and alike are aiming to get into that Cornwall shirt and unfortunately for two years they won't be able to in a County Championship."

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