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Premiership to introduce new points system for postponed matched

Premiership Rugby will no longer automati­cally award five points to teams when the opposition is unable to field a side because of coronavirus.

League bosses confirmed a four-point win will be awarded to the club able to name a side, with two points to the team forced to cancel.

The score will be recorded as 0-0.

"With Covid, we previously had a system which effectively attributed fault," said Premiership Rugby director Phil Winstanley.

"The problem we have with that is it's very, very difficult in the current landscape to say that was something that somebody's done wrong."

Winstanley added that there was "no science" behind the new system, but it was "the fairest way of dealing with this".

On the final day of the regular 2019-20 season, Sale were unable to play because of positive Covid test results and their match with Worcester was eventually cancelled.

Warriors were given a 20-0 win and five points as Sale missed out on the play-offs.

Winstanley confirmed that under the new system Worcester would have received four points and Sale two.

If a club is unable to field a team for reasons not attributed to Covid problems, then the previous system of a 20-0 win and five points to the opposition will continue.

Due to fixture congestion matches cannot be rearranged because of a coronavirus outbreak, unless it is safe to do so on the same weekend.

All fixtures during the regular season will be treated equally, with only the semi-finals and the final given more leeway.

Winstanley confirmed that this weekend's opening round of six fixtures will all go ahead as planned, with games at Harlequins and Sale starting the season on Friday.

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