YOU know you have had a bad weekend when you don’t even play a game, yet somehow wake up on Monday morning in a worse position than you were in on Friday night. 

Such is the position Glasgow find themselves in today. Their game against Edinburgh could not go ahead on Friday because the Scotstoun pitch was frozen, but the Italian derby did take place the following day, and Zebre’s 22-18 win over Benetton sent the Warriors to the bottom of PRO14 Conference A.

Yes, Danny Wilson’s side have a game in hand, but it is an ignominious sign, nonetheless, of how badly things have been going for them. When you are struggling to find form, what you need above all else is a run of games - and that is precisely what Glasgow have been unable to get. 

Since their heavy defeat by Exeter in the middle of last month they have played just once, losing to Edinburgh on 2 January. And the way the pandemic is going, they may well have a few more enforced days off over the coming months, with the suspension of the Champions Cup pool stage now a distinct possibility as the French government contemplates banning foreign teams from the country for a time.

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If that happens, the one consolation for Wilson will be that every other side in the competition will be similarly affected. But at least some of those sides will have enjoyed some excellent results domestically as well as in Europe, and so will have something positive to look back on even if conditions worsen and the season ends up being either severely truncated or even declared null and void.  

So how did the possibility of this postponement arise and what will happen next? It started after Bayonne said that two of their players had contracted the new UK variant of Covid after a game against Leicester, and complained that the protocols in use by English clubs were not tight enough.  

Emmanuel Macron’s government have since held talks with France’s Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), who in turn are expected to hold further talks with Champions Cup organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) today. EPCR summed up the position in a statement issued over the weekend:

“EPCR is aware of a formal communication that has been sent by the French authorities to the LNR regarding the participation of Top 14 clubs in the Heineken Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup. No directive has been given and the LNR has been asked by the French government for its position on protocols for its clubs playing in EPCR tournaments against the backdrop of the recent detection of a new strain of coronavirus in France. EPCR will now discuss this matter with the LNR as soon as possible before making any further comment.” 

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Two out of four rounds of Champions Cup pool games have been completed so far, although in several cases - including Glasgow’s home game against Lyon - matches have been cancelled for Covid-related reasons. If they have to postpone the remaining two, EPCR will need to find two weekends in which to play them in an already overcrowded season. Cancelling the quarter-finals and going straight to semis would be one option.

Of course, with the Six Nations now just a few weeks away, any decision to ban foreign teams from France could have a big impact on that tournament. The French are due to visit Italy and Ireland in the first two rounds, and are then at home to Scotland on 28 February. Given the contractual complexities of broadcasting arrangements and sponsorship deals, it would be no simple matter to exclude France for a season and rebrand the competition as the Five Nations.

Is there a bright side to any of this? Any consolation for rugby in general or for the two Scottish teams in particular?

It is probably a minor point, but the cancellation of part of the Champions Cup schedule would at least give the PRO14 fixture list a greater chance of being completed in a rational fashion. The league already has a backlog of games, only some of which have found new slots in the calendar. A few standby weekends could be a great help in tidying up the rest - and might even mean that the Warriors could get that much-needed run of games at last.