ERC on snow patrol

Fri, 18 Jan 2013 16:45
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European Cup rugby chiefs insist they have contingency plans in place, as cold weather threatens to play havoc with the final round of pool fixtures.

European Cup rugby chiefs insisted on Friday they had contingency plans in place, as cold weather across the continent threatened to play havoc with the decisive final round of pool fixtures.

This weekend is set to decide the quarterfinalists of the European Cup, but the prospect of matches being postponed on safety grounds due to frozen pitches or because teams are prevented from travelling could yet delay the completion of the last eight line-up.

As of 15:00 GMT Friday, all fixtures were going ahead as scheduled and tournament organisers European Rugby Cup (ERC) said they would do all they could to ensure matches in both the European Cup and the second-tier European Challenge Cup were played as planned this weekend.

"Throughout the week, ERC has been in regular contact with clubs to ensure all possible precautions have been made and that alternative venues are available," the Dublin-based ERC said in a statement.

"Should weather conditions or travel difficulties prevent matches from going ahead as scheduled, ERC will work with the clubs and match officials to ensure that fixtures are completed at the earliest possible time."

Meanwhile weekend fixtures in several sports were postponed on Friday due to freezing temperatures across Britain.

While the bulk of English Premier League clubs have grounds equipped with undersoil heating, many of those lower down the league ladder do not.

And rather than have fans make a wasted journey, several clubs announced on Friday the postponement of matches due to take place on Saturday.

The League One (third division) matches at Scunthorpe, Crawley, Bury, Hartlepool and Crewe were all postponed due to frozen pitches, as were the League Two fixtures at Accrington, Rochdale and Southend.

Meanwhile the League Two match between Torquay and Chesterfield fell victim to a waterlogged pitch.

Horse racing was also disrupted, with Saturday's meetings at Taunton and Haydock both called off as was Towcester on Sunday.

And later on Friday the meeting at Ascot and Lingfield, both in southern England, were also called off, meaning there will be no turf racing in Britain this weekend

AFP
 

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