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Newcastle promoted to English Premiership in place of Saracens

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

13:00 2 Apr 2020

The Rugby Football Union of England has confirmed that Newcastle Falcons will replace relegated Saracens in the English Premiership.

Newcastle were leading the second-tier Championship table, having notched a total of 15 wins, when the RFU brought the season to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ealing Trailfinders were in second place and 18 points behind but with a game in hand over the table-toppers.

The RFU said in a statement released on Thursday that the final league positions "would be calculated on a best playing record formula maintaining promotion and relegation for those leagues."

RFU President, Peter Wheeler, added: "We believe that the decisions made provide fair and balanced outcomes for the game and maintain the integrity of the competitions.

"We have listened to recommendations from the heart of the game and the approach has been ratified by the RFU Council.

"This has been a difficult decision to make in the most unprecedented of circumstances.

"There is no single solution that will suit every club, but the approach taken is one that we believe best reflects the nature of league rugby in England.

"With 80% of the season complete for the community game, we believe our approach is fair and the right one for our leagues.

"We have clubs that are clear league leaders and those who have said they would benefit from relegation to play more meaningful rugby."

A row erupted last month over the promotion/relegation issue between the Premiership and Championshiop.

Newcastle director, Dean Richards, criticised Ealing after their director of rugby, Ben Ward, revealed that the club were taking legal advice.

"Difficult decisions have to be made in these unprecedented times, when people's lives and livelihoods are being lost," said Richards in a statement on the official Newcastle website.

"If Ealing's primary concern is whether they can bridge the 18-point gap between our two teams to gain promotion, then that reflects very poorly on them considering everything else going on in the world right now."

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