Yates' view: More headaches for the fixture planners

The Hull KR-Saints Betfred Super League clash, which was postponed earlier this week due to worsening Covid-19 problems in the Craven Park club's camp, is in danger of being axed from the remaining fixture programme.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 1:24 pm
A new date for the Hull KR-Saints Betfred Super League clash could be hard to find
A new date for the Hull KR-Saints Betfred Super League clash could be hard to find

Finding a suitable slot is proving a headache for the planners and not helped by St Helens' success in reaching the Challenge Cup Final on July 17, but once KR come out the other side of this crisis, they will start thinking about a potential new date in consultation with Kristian Woolf's side and the Rugby Football League.

From a financial point of view, the Robins would ideally love to squeeze the match in after taking a significant hit during the behind-closed-doors period but examining what lies ahead, it looks far more difficult than one thinks.

On the Humbersiders' only free weekend, Saints face Castleford Tigers at Wembley, and the possibility of rearranging the fixture between the dates with Wigan and Hull FC on August 13 and 20, would leave Rovers with 12 games in the final eight weeks of the season.

NOT only have the powers-that-be been working overtime amid the apparent worsening of the pandemic, but faced one or two other problems following pressure in certain quarters to call off the England-Combined All Stars clash - part of the country's build-up to the World Cup later in the year.

It leads me to ask: What is more important, the Super League programme, or a chance of winning the World Cup for the first time since 1972 when under the Great Britain banner?

In my view, it is the latter and I totally agree with the hard-hitting comments made by media colleague Dave Woods, who I've known since he started his journalistic career working for Wigan-based Geoff Barnes' freelance agency in the 1980s and a leading authority on the 13-a-side code.

Dave says in his BBC online column: ''You would think that England and their new head coach, Shaun Wane, and his staff need every chance to prepare as best they can for what could be a huge turning point for our code which consistently doesn't get the headlines it deserves. But this is Rugby League!

''It has a soul-destroying habit of being run by self-interest and small mindedness which fails to see the bigger picture on a staggeringly consistent basic and central governance .The Rugby League lacks the strength to ride roughshod over that parochialism.

''When England play the All Stars (tonight, June 25) it will be against the backdrop of petty pouting and posturing of club officials who even threatened to put the match in doubt at one stage as they stubbornly refused to release players.

''Those clubs are griping about releasing players for an international game and are effectively saying that mid-season Super League matches are more important than long-term international success.

"Yet it is the same clubs who chose to design fixtures which allow those domestic games played this weekend in the first place, knowing full well that England had already arranged an international.''

Does the right hand not know what the left hand is doing?

Saints' Betfred Super League clash at Wakefield Trinity has been switched from Sunday,July 11, to Friday, July 9 (kick-off 7.45pm).